The world knew that Tyson Fury was special, but the performance to brutally dominate Deontay Wilder with a blend of boxing nous combined with power and poise raises the 31-year-old pugilist of the traveller race to the level of extraordinary.
The ‘Gypsy King’ compelled the dangerous knockout artist Wilder to a forlorn figure, beaten up, bleeding from the ear, bullied to the level that the Alabaman’s corner threw in the towel in the seventh round after an unabated beating.
It was offensively brilliant, and defensively savvy. It was so one-sided, it is doubtful whether Wilder will activate the trilogy rematch clause. It is hard to see how Wilder ever beats Fury.
Worth recalling, too, that Fury was seemingly a clear winner in the first fight 14 months ago. Fury claimed the World Boxing Council belt – the only belt he had not won from Wladimir Klitschko when he became the world No 1 five years ago – to complete the clean sweep.
Those in boxing, those who know their boxing, have always held Fury as the best boxer of the generation, and on current form, Fury would be too hard a puzzle, moreover, for Anthony Joshua, who now holds the other three world title belts. This was one of the great performances by a British boxer abroad, just like his display against Klitschko, and Lennox Lewis, the last undisputed heavyweight champion, working ringside on the television broadcast, nodded approvingly at Fury’s every move.
— Gareth A Davies (@GarethADaviesDT) February 23, 2020
Those included imposing himself from the opening round, peppering Wilder with a hard, powerful jab, never allowing the American a foothold. It was masterful.
When his right hands landed, they landed with authority, pummelling the face of his foe with such regularity that the fallen champion’s face was soon etched with the confusion that colours a fighter being demolished.
Fury put Wilder down hard in the third, and then with a winging body shot in the fifth stanza, by which time the man known as ‘The Hammer from Alabama’ was simply a confused man on wobbly legs in Sin City.
The victory, the valedictory song afterwards, the claim of having implemented the return of the king, were all ringing true in the songs and words of an estimated eight thousand travelling fans celebrated one of the greatest triumphs of not just a British boxer, but a British sportsman abroad in history.
Given his story, moreover, of beating depression and obesity, it has to rank as one of the greatest comebacks ever.