Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte hugged and swapped hats like reunited friends, but the British rivals have declared their desire for a brutal world title fight at Wembley.
Fury’s WBC belt and unbeaten record are at stake when he shares the ring with Whyte in front of an estimated 94,000 crowd – a post-war British record – at the national stadium.
Whyte’s combustible temper has not flared in fight week, while Fury has resisted the temptation to taunt his latest opponent, but grins and handshakes will be replaced by glares and flailing fists.
“I’m very chilled and very relaxed,” Whyte told Sky Sports. “Probably more chilled and relaxed than I’ve been for previous fight build-ups. But it’s been good.
“I’m calm, but the good thing about me, I don’t need to be all aggy and frustrated, because it takes me a split second to turn nasty when I need to, so I don’t need to be like, ‘I’m going to smash his face in!’Whyte’s eagerness is understandable, given how long he’s waited for an elusive world title shot, despite a string of destructive victories.
Since a stoppage defeat to Anthony Joshua in 2015, Whyte has spent the last six and a half years grafting his way into this position – leaving a trail of fellow contenders in his wake, including Derek Chisora twice, Joseph Parker and most recently beating Alexander Povetkin in their rematch after losing the initial fight.
“I’m ready to go,” Whyte said. “We’ve taken a lot of time, a lot of patience, a lot of devotion to get to this stage and we’re ready to go. Tomorrow, we’re ready to go to war.
“It is respect. With Tyson, I take him as he comes. I don’t think we’re friends or everything is cool, because he might come out tomorrow and be in a different mindset.
“Today I’m in one mindset, tomorrow I’m in another mindset.”
At Friday’s weigh-in, Fury came in less than a stone heavier than Whyte and more than 12lbs lighter than the career-high 277lbs he weighed the day before knocking out Deontay Wilder in the 11th round of his last title defence in October.
Fury again displayed his battling spirit, along with power and precision when he climbed off the canvas twice to stop Wilder, and is fully aware of the threat posed by Whyte.
“He’s as dangerous as any heavyweight out there,” Fury told Sky Sports earlier in the week. “He’s coming in hungry, he wants to win this fight.
“It’s his big shot at the opportunity of being champion of the world.”
As music blared at the weigh-in, Fury and Whyte even danced next to each other, but they will provide a more explosive combination when the first bell rings.
“Respect to Dillian Whyte and his team, proper professional men, and we’re going to give you a real fight,” said Fury.
“Don’t doubt us, we’re going to put a show on like no other before. It’s going to be a war, don’t worry about that.”