Modern-day boxing – is it sport or showbiz, a hard-hitting game of chess in the ring or a hyped-up reality show? When two heavyweight champions entered the ring on the 23rd of April at Wembley Stadium, they did so to all the trappings of professional sport promotion. A post-Second World War record crowd of 94,000 was present at Wembley Stadium in London to witness whether the ‘Gypsy King’ Tyson Fury could cement his position as the best in the division. The challenger Dillian Whyte stood between 33-year-old Fury and a 33rd consecutive victory. A win for Whyte, who is a year older than Fury, would come as a shock to all boxing critics and fans. However with a record of 28 wins and just two defeats, would Whyte really be the pushover that the bookies were pursuing as an underdog?


Prior to the all-British WBC bout, touted by some commentators as the greatest dust-up in British boxing heavyweight history, the two men had built up the typical back story of a deep dislike, but mutual respect at the weigh-in suggested this might have just been the normal method of ramping up ticket sales - a tactic that clearly works if the crowd size is anything to go by.


By the time of the infamous ‘ring walks’ before the action started, the showbiz side of the event was clear. First Whyte let out his normal wolf howl before entering the ring, and then it was time for showman Fury to let the music do the talking. His ring walk consisted of Don McLean’s American Pie, rap song Juicy by Notorious B.I.G and Sex on Fire by the Kings of Leon. He topped all this off with a firework display while he sat triumphantly on his throne. All this before he’d even got in the ring.


With BT Sport televising the fight for £25 per household and illegal streams doing their bit on the internet, the world expensively watched as the two men finally turned from all the talk and the theatricals and set about earning their millions. The press reported that the ‘purse’ of the fight would be split heavily in Fury’s favour. He would pocket more than £20 million to Whyte’s £5 million with the winner taking an extra £3 million bonus. Showbiz numbers for half-an-hour’s work.


The fight itself lasted six rounds. Fury, the much taller man with the bigger reach, controlled the early rounds, though Whyte landed a few good blows. The combined weight of 37stone thrilled the Wembley watchers, though quite how well some of the further away seats could follow the action is unclear to this writer. A Fury uppercut knocked Whyte to the canvas in the sixth round, and although he got back on his feet, the referee decided he was in no fit state to continue, and the much-hyped, multi-million-pound match-up was over.


Afterwards, an undefeated Fury promised to call it a day - only the second heavyweight in history after Rocky Marciano to retire without being beaten. Whether he can really resist the lure of the razzamatazz and riches remains to be seen.