Tyson Fury v Dillian Whyte could join list of brilliant all-British bouts

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Tyson Fury will make his highly-anticipated homecoming when he defends his WBC heavyweight title against British compatriot Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night.

More than 90,000 fans are expected to pack into England’s national football stadium for Fury’s first fight on British soil since August 2018, with his last five bouts taking place in the United States.

There have been plenty of unforgettable all-British affairs in the past, which the PA news agency explores here.

Carl Froch v George Groves II – May 31, 2014, Wembley Stadium

Carl Froch, right, conclusively ended his rivalry with George Groves at Wembley Stadium (Peter Byrne/PA)
Carl Froch, right, conclusively ended his rivalry with George Groves at Wembley Stadium (Peter Byrne/PA)

Months earlier, a highly contentious stoppage saw Froch retain his WBA and IBF super-middleweight titles and lit the touch paper for an immediate return. A post-war British record attendance of 80,000 – since surpassed by Anthony Joshua’s fight against Wladimir Klitschko in 2017 – watched on as Froch conclusively ended the rivalry and brought the curtain down on his own career in perfect fashion by flattening Groves with a crushing overhand right in the eighth round of another absorbing battle.

Lennox Lewis v Frank Bruno – October 1, 1993, Cardiff Arms Park

Lennox Lewis, right, overcame Frank Bruno 29 years ago (David Jones/PA)
Lennox Lewis, right, overcame Frank Bruno 29 years ago (David Jones/PA)

National identity was at the heart of this heavyweight grudge match as Bruno questioned the validity of Lewis’ Britishness, having seen his rival win Olympic gold for Canada in 1988 before reverting to the country of his birth after turning professional. Bruno adopted the moniker ‘True Brit’ and was ahead on the scorecards until he was tagged by a wild left hook and, slumped against the ropes, he was stopped in the seventh round as the unbeaten Lewis successfully defended his WBC title for a second time.

Nigel Benn v Chris Eubank – November 18, 1990, Birmingham National Exhibition Centre

Chris Eubank, left, and Nigel Benn had a bitter feud that raged long after their in-ring battles (Sean Dempsey/PA)
Chris Eubank, left, and Nigel Benn had a bitter feud that raged long after their in-ring battles (Sean Dempsey/PA)

The pair were polar opposites in personalities and a bitterly hostile feud raged for years even after two enthralling bouts, with their brutal first meeting one for the ages. Eubank’s mouth was bloodied and Benn’s left eye swollen shut as they each weathered savage blows. But it was Eubank who left with the WBO middleweight title after Benn was sent reeling back to the ropes and ruefully stopped on his feet. A rematch three years later ended in a debatable draw and attempts at a third fight fell flat. Considered two of the best fighters from these isles, they have buried the hatchet in recent years.

Henry Cooper v Joe Bugner – March 16, 1971, Wembley Empire Pool

Joe Bugner, left, edged out Henry Cooper (PA)
Joe Bugner, left, edged out Henry Cooper (PA)

Cooper, who had twice fallen short against Muhammad Ali earlier in his career, was approaching his 37th birthday when he defended his British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight titles against 21-year-old Bugner. The youngster’s circumspect but effective approach earned him few fans but he was declared the winner by a quarter of a point by referee Harry Gibbs in a verdict disputed by many. Cooper was irate, ending his celebrated career shortly afterwards while refusing to speak to Gibbs for many years.

Josh Taylor v Jack Catterall – February 26, 2022, Glasgow OVO Hydro

Josh Taylor v Jack Catterall – OVO Hydro
Many felt Jack Catterall, left, edged out Josh Taylor (Steve Welsh/PA)

Taylor had hoovered up all four major world super-lightweight titles, seeing off his last six opponents with an awesome combined record of 136 wins and one defeat. But the Scot was given his toughest test by mandatory challenger Catterall, the Chorley fighter who knocked down and seemingly outboxed the hometown favourite over 12 rounds in a battle of two undefeated fighters. However, Taylor was given the nod via split decision, an outcome that has led to plenty of soul-searching in the weeks since then.

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