Fury came up off the canvas twice to defeat Wilder in an entertaining, topsy-turvy fight in Las Vegas
In an exhausting and dramatic encounter Tyson Fury stopped Deontay Wilder with a huge right hand 70 seconds into the eleventh round of a world title defence here on Sunday morning, retaining his World Boxing Council title in a thrilling trilogy fight that will down as a classic in boxing history.
It was a fight for the ages and will join the pantheon of Sin City encounters that litter the history of this brutal sport. Four times the third meeting had been postponed, yet when the two huge men climbed into the ring for the world championship they left everything. And the fight had it all.
Wilder was down in the third round, after a fair start, in which he targeted the body, and the expectation that the Alabaman had come in the heaviest of his career appeared to be playing out. Yet in the very next stanza, Wilder bounced back, the huge right hand that had accounted for many of his 41 opponents was planted across Fury.
Wilder went after his foe, the man who had dethroned him twenty months ago, with all the vengeful power he could master and Fury was down, not once, but twice. But then Fury climbed from the canvas, getting behind his jab again and clawing his way back into the fight, leaning on Wilder, and clinching with his much lighter rival.
But it was Fury’s IQ in the ring, his superior skills, that earned the boxer from the traveller race in Lancashire to call himself the No 1 in the heavyweight division and the lineal champion.
In front of more than 15,000 fans at the T-Mobile Arena, the fight lived up to all its billing. Perhaps not in the manner of being an elite level boxing chess match, but an epic encounter involving will, guts and heart as Wilder refused to be denied (he was not going to be stopped by his corner this time, as he was in the seventh in their second fight) and clearly went out on his shield.
Wilder was dangerous to the very end, on wobbly legs, staggering at times, through five rounds to the denouement as Fury used his skills, size and weight advantages to dominate his rival. Slowly, Wilder’s batteries, stamina and resources
were being depleted. On into the eighth, ninth and tenth stanzas, the ‘Gypsy King’ brushed his gloves on his shorts and focused himself for the finality of punches that would end the bout with no discussing afterwards. Fury broke Wilder, whose levels of courage and stamina made for a scintillating atmosphere. Wilder was also down in the tenth round, with little left, although judge Steve Weisfeld scored it a 10-9 round inexplicably.
Refusing to go down, refusing to quit, Wilder still searched for that heat-seeking right hand again to render Fury unconscious. Yet, now unsteady of his legs, his tensile strength leaving him, the dangerous Bronze Bomber punches from the early rounds bounced off the 6ft-9in tall travelling hero.
As his power ebbed away into exhaustion Fury lined up his foe and in a neutral corner, in the penultimate round, battered Wilder with a right hand that sent the 35-year-old former heavyweight champion out clean, bouncing off the ropes and into the centre of the ring. Fury raised his arms and walked to his corner.
It was as brilliant, dramatic and nerve-tingling as Fury’s rise from the canvas in the twelfth round in their first fight, a controversial draw, back in December 2018. Fury raised his arms then. But was denied.
Wilder gambled here in Sin City, and lost. Fury took it all. He explained from the ring, after singing once more on the microphone: “I give Him [God] the glory for the victory but Wilder’s a tough man he took some big shots tonight. It was a great fight tonight as well as any trilogy in history.
“I beat him three times and I’m a sportsman and wanted to give him some love and respect [afterwards] And he didn’t want to give it back. That’s his problem and I pray for him. This was a great fight and October 9, 2021 will go down in history I hope. I always said I was the best in the world and he was the second best.
“Don’t ever doubt me. When the chips are down I will always deliver.”
Here, this time, in the Mecca of mega fight nights, Fury – just two weeks after British rival Anthony Joshua lost his world title belts to the Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk – has become the king of the division, a two-time undefeated world heavyweight champion who has won all the belts, and finally defended one of them. In a memorable, memorable fight that may just define the era. The era of the Gypsy King.