TYSON FURY praised Dillian Whyte despite their fierce feud – but insisted he will still win by knockout.
The WBC have now ordered Fury to defend his heavyweight title against mandatory challenger Whyte.
It will put an end to years of goading after their friendship turned sour.
Fury said to Behind The Gloves. “How many days has he been my mandatory? One! So welcome to the big GK [Gypsy King] world.
“I’ve known Dillian a long time, we go back a long way and he’s improved a lot over the last few years.
“But the outcome will always be the same, I’ll knock him out if that fight happens.”
Fury, 33, emphatically knocked out Deontay Wilder, 36, in their trilogy bout in October and wants to return by March.
Whereas Whyte, 33, beat Alexander Povetkin, 42, in March and was due to fight Otto Wallin, 31, in late October.
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But he was forced to withdraw following a shoulder injury, and will instead go straight into his long overdue world title shot.
Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum revealed talks with Whyte are underway, with rumours Manchester or Cardiff are frontrunners to host.
Arum told Sky Sports: “Why wouldn’t Fury respect Whyte?
“Heavyweights throw bombs. If he doesn’t respect him, he’ll be in a lot of trouble.
“Fury is enough of a professional, and a great fighter, and he knows that you don’t take a guy like Whyte lightly.”