Tony Bellew believes that Tyson Fury will have to climb off the canvas if he is to beat Dillian Whyte, ahead of their showdown next month.
Fury makes a second defence of his WBC heavyweight title against mandatory challenger, Whyte at Wembley Stadium on April 23.
‘The Gypsy King’ fights for the first time since a stunning eleventh round stoppage over Deontay Wilder in their trilogy in October, in which he twice rose from the deck to defeat his American rival, whilst Whyte will end an over one-year lay-off since avenging his shock defeat to Alexander Povetkin with a fourth round stoppage in their rematch in March.
Former cruiserweight world champion, Bellew admits he can see Fury on the canvas again, but says he’d favour the Manchester man if the contest goes past six rounds.
“Tyson Fury‘s the best heavyweight in the world right now, that cannot be disputed,” Bellew said on The Sports Bar.
“But Dillian Whyte is a hard night for anybody. Anybody who thinks Dillian Whyte is going to be an easy fight is a fool.
“He’s big, he’s dangerous, he’s brave and he can punch. All those attributes will cause problems for anyone.
“And Tyson knows it too, he’s no fool, but with Tyson’s boxing ability, if he navigates his way through the first six, I expect him to come on strong in the second half of the fight.
“But, believe you me, I actually think he’s going to have to get off the floor.
“Dillian Whyte is game as anything and he will jump all over Tyson Fury. He won’t care about the showboating, the dancing around, the drop of the hand.”
Whyte did not show up to the launch press conference last month, amid reports of a dispute over his ticket allocation amongst other issues, although promote, Frank Warren who won the purse bid to stage the fight with a bid of $41m, told Pro Boxing Fans on Thursday that he expects the Brixton man to fulfil his contracted obligations on fight week.
Fury, unbeaten in 32 fights heads into the showdown as the bookies favourite, however Bellew says he would not be shocked if Whyte upset the odds and inflicted a first defeat on the 33-year-old by knockout and says ‘The Body Snatcher’ will not be fazed if his rival attempts any mind games before the fight.
“He also won’t get in Dillian’s head,” Bellew added.
“Tyson can’t break Dillian’s mindset. Dillian is a tough, rough, hard kid.
“I think it’s a really, really good fight. I’m not saying Dillian’s going to knock Tyson Fury out because that would be a stupid statement, but I will say this much, it wouldn’t surprise me if he did.
“It’s a really hard night’s work for Tyson Fury. He might not want to admit this but he knows it.”