Britain’s Tyson Fury knocked out American Deontay Wilder in the eleventh round and retained the WBC heavyweight champion title, in a dramatic closing of the trilogy called to become a boxing classic.
The most anticipated fight of the year met expectations, with both fighters falling to the canvas until the ‘Gypsy King’, undefeated in his career, finally knocked down Wilder.
The 15,820 spectators at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada vibrated with an epic second victory in a row for Fury over Wilder, with whom he drew in the first episode of this fierce rivalry in 2018.
Fury has 31 wins and a draw without losses in his career while Wilder remains with 42 wins, two losses and a draw.
“Never doubt me,” Fury demanded after the match. “When things get ugly, I will always deliver.”
“It was a great fight tonight, like any trilogy in history,” said the reigning WBC (World Boxing Council) champion. “I’m not going to make excuses, Deontay is a great fighter. I always say that I am the best fighter in the world and he is second.
At 33, Fury could now look to a heavyweight crown unification fight with Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, who owns the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.
Wilder, 35, offered a show of resistance but it was not enough to recover the belt that he gave in 2020 to Fury after five years in his possession.
– Multiple falls to the canvas –
After waiting for his exit to the ring, Wilder started the fight strong, connecting the first blows to the body and head of a Fury that presented the highest weight of his career (277 pounds, 125.6 kg).
The ‘Bronze Bomber’ took the first round but Fury began to deliver the most accurate blows of the combat.
The Briton was picking up pace until in the third round he sent Wilder to the canvas for the first time with a right hook.
The American resisted until the bell and quickly turned the fight around thanks to his fearsome right hand, with which he sent Fury to the ground twice in the fourth round.
With both fighters touched, Wilder and Fury tried to settle back in the ring, granting themselves a small truce in three even rounds.
In the seventh, the British crashed a powerful right hand against Wilder that left him shaking but the American was still on his feet and ready to resist.
Wilder, a knockout specialist, was hoping for a winning shot but it was Fury who brought him to the knee again in the 10th round.
The Brit also resented Wilder’s blows, but with 1 minute 10 10 seconds to go in the eleventh round, he managed to land a withering right hook from which Wilder could no longer recover.
– Unification of titles –
The trilogy between Fury and Wilder began in 2018 with a first fight in Los Angeles (California) that ended with a thrilling draw, after the Briton survived two falls, one of them in the 12th round.
Fury knocked out Wilder in the seventh round of the second fight, which took place in February 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada, the last time both fighters had stepped into a ring.
Rather than face the American again, Fury had planned a heavyweight belt unification bout this year against compatriot Anthony Joshua, but an independent referee ordered him to concede Wilder a third rematch bout.
Saturday’s fight was scheduled for July but was postponed after Fury and members of his team tested positive for coronavirus.
After his victory against Joshua on September 25, the Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk is the current owner of the other heavyweight championships of the World Boxing Association (WBA), the International Boxing Federation (IFB) and the World Boxing Organization ( WBO).
According to his promoter, Usyk is close to granting Joshua a rematch, which could be played in February or March 2022. AFP (HN)