The WBC champion made a statement both inside and outside of the ring as he beat the American in Los Angeles
Tyson Fury’s entrance across the floor of the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on February 23 was as majestic as the performance that was to follow it, as the 6ft 9in heavyweight faced Deontay Wilder for the World Boxing Council heavyweight title. It was their second meeting after a controversial split draw in Los Angeles in December 2018.
“I thought coming in on the throne, true ‘Gypsy King’ style gave me a royal entrance. It gave me a lift, it made me feel like the person I was supposed to be on the night, and it helped me perform to the best of my ability,” the WBC champion Fury told Telegraph Sport, recalling that memorable night’s ring walk.
It could have backfired horribly, of course. Fury’s entrance, before Wilder, was pure theatre. Carried in sitting on a throne, crown on his head and wearing a royal robe, Fury milked the delirium from a wild crowd, smiling and putting out his gloved hands in appreciation as, strangely, Patsy Cline’s 1961 hit Crazy accompanied the walkout. Fury stood up, sang along, and kissed his gloves. It was bizarre, yet brilliant, given what was to follow.
Fury did not disappoint. The performance was dramatic, emphatic and aggressive, as the British heavyweight set about the reigning champion, having weighed in at 273lb, the third heaviest of his professional career and 17lb heavier than the first Wilder bout. He had stated in the build-up that he wanted extra size and power for a knockout. Wilder weighed in at 231lb, the heaviest of his career.
Fury was more aggressive than we had ever seen. In the third round, he floored Wilder with a right hand to the temple. Wilder was disoriented, fell to the canvas twice, ruled as slips by the referee Kenny Bayless.
Fury had Wilder down again in the fifth round with a combination and a left hook to the body. Wilder, bleeding from the mouth and the ear by now, looked beaten.
The fight was stopped midway through the seventh round after a flurry of hard-hitting shots from Fury. In came the towel. Fury was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards 59–52, 58–53 and 59–52. Via Compubox, Fury landed 82 of his 267 punches, including 58 power punches. Wilder landed 34 of his 141 total punches, including 18 power punches.
Fury’s victory established one of the most notable boxing comeback stories ever witnessed, while the entrance on the throne, in retrospect, will forever be seen as iconic.
- Part one: Romain Grosjean’s Bahrain GP horror crash
- Part two: England and West Indies take a knee
- Part three: Crowds descend on Cheltenham hours before lockdown