Wilder v Fury: Stunning draw in the WBC world heavyweight title fight
Tyson Fury’s shot at completing a remarkable return to the top of world boxing saw him survive two knockdowns to share an enthralling draw with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles.
In one of the most thrilling heavyweight contests for years, the Briton was floored in the ninth round and brutally dropped in the 12th, somehow regaining his feet to survive for two minutes.
Fury had shown plenty of the evasive, counter-punching skill set which made his name before his 30-month spell away from the sport and he enjoyed joy during the middle rounds.
But in the 12th he lay motionless after a savage combination, barely making the count to see out the contest, which was scored 115-111 for Wilder, 114-112 for Fury and 113-113.
The challenger felt he had won and had he stayed on his feet in the final three minutes, the WBC title would have been his.
After 36 minutes of the most tense and absorbing action, both men spoke of a rematch and such a date now appears a certainty.
‘How did he get up?’
Those ringside were left asking the same question ‘how did Tyson Fury get up?’. The right hand and left hook Wilder landed cleanly in the final throes looked to have turned out the lights.
It would have been cruel. The 17,698 in the Staples Center had seen Fury contribute immensely, persistently goading his rival with showmanship and landing slick work time and time again to find a classy flow.
The likes of Hollywood actress Hayden Panettiere sat ringside, as did football’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and boxing greats such as Floyd Mayweather, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and James ‘Buster’ Douglas.
While Wilder walked from his dressing room, his WBC title being lowered into the ring under spotlight, Fury worked pads with trainer Ben Davison, seemingly oblivious to the lavish spectacle.
They would serve up drama to match the glamour – Fury, pawing his nose as if damaged after five rounds, Wilder sporting a swollen left eye.
The Briton frustrated his American counterpart, thrusting home a stunning left-right in the seventh, prompting Wilder to give chase and swing to no avail as Fury evaded.
The moment summed up the challenger’s swagger and he briefly looked un-hittable. But the jeopardy that comes with Wilder’s 39 previous knockouts remained, as some ringside watched through their hands.
The power punches came, a chopping right hand behind Fury’s ear sent him down in nine, prompting him to hold, duck, bravely punch back and survive, somehow.
And so to the 12th, three minutes few will forget. Wilder looked briefly stunned his rival came back for more after crashing to the mat and the bell saw roars of appreciation roll down to ringside.
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren said “everyone knows” his man had won. The 115-111 scorecard in Wilder’s favour will likely raise most eye browse but the dust must first settle on a truly incredible fight.
Slick and durable Fury is back
The singing of God Save The Queen showcased a healthy number of Britons in the arena. Fury has re-emerged as somewhat of a people’s champion after time away from the sport where he overcame depression and accepted a two-year backdated UK Anti-Doping ban.
But the two routine wins since his June return taught the masses little, with his 10-stone weight drop proving more of a talking point for mainstream media.
However the plaudits that come with mental fortitude and physical change would help little against an undefeated champion.
Fury was a bookmakers’ underdog, his own team even admitted this type of challenge was six months too soon. But he rolled the dice, knowing windows of opportunity to face a champion are fleeting when there are calls for Wilder to face Anthony Joshua in a bout for all four world titles.
After this display, he has shown he is correctly back in the mix. The man who held three world titles after defeating Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 showed his trademark body and head movement, and frequently flummoxed Wilder with quick feet to counter-punch.
His jovial, sometimes controversial nature disappeared in three-minute segments before he ended almost every round posturing and raising his hands.
The jab was slick, his right hand drove home frequently and despite such weight loss, his punch resistance and durability were truly remarkable.
Ringside media simply described the contest as amazing, while one of Wilder’s team likened Fury to WWE wrestler The Undertaker, such was his 12th-round ‘back-from-the-dead’ recovery.
It has been a remarkable three years. From world champion to depression and ballooning to 28 stone, Fury is, somehow, back among the elite names of the glamour division.
Wilder-Fury II – Vegas? Wembley?
Wilder showed the reasons for his reign. Even when frustrated he found a way to deliver crucial blows. His display – and this captivating affair – will do his profile no harm in the US.
The heavyweight scene has stagnated in the country, largely down the the Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko era.
But Warren said Las Vegas will be desperate for a rematch, while a UK meeting would now undoubtedly sell out a stadium.
Fury earned a reported £7m for his work, Wilder £3m more. Both men remain undefeated. They will earn even more when it happens again. – bbc.com