Tyson Fury has delivered a dramatic 11th-round knockout of Deontay Wilder to retain his WBC heavyweight crown in their trilogy bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The 33-year-old champion had to show all his resolve and resilience to further his undefeated professional record to 32 fights in a gripping bout in which he was twice being floored in the fourth round.
Wilder seemed to have been dictating the match from the opening bell with a series of jabs to the body as Fury took his time to size up a remodeled opponent.
Fury sent Wilder sprawling in an explosive third, only to see the Bronze Bomber recover and the Briton found himself on the end of the American’s huge right hand twice in quick succession.
Wilder was hanging on by the end of the seventh but was still resilient to come the 10th, when Fury knocked him down once more, before delivering the final blow in the 11th to bring the long-awaited bout of heavyweight boxing to a close.
Referee Russell Mora calls the fight after Wilder was floored for the third time
Fury said, “I was down a couple of times, I was hurt, Wilder is a strong puncher.”
The Briton champion added, “It was a great fight. I will not make any excuses, Wilder is a top fighter, he gave me a run for my money. I always say I am the best fighter in the world and he is the second-best.”
From his Twitter handler, Fury wrote, “Don’t ever doubt me. When the chips are down I can always deliver.”
This might not have been the fight Fury wanted but, after a controversial draw in their first meeting in 2018 and seventh-round stoppage from Fury last time out, it again delivered the blockbuster battle the Las Vegas crowd was craving.
Fury Greatest of the era
Fury has surmounted every challenge thrown his way but to become the first undisputed heavyweight world champion since Lennox Lewis in 2000 he will need to take the titles held by Oleksandr Usyk.
The Ukrainian looks set to face Anthony Joshua in a rematch first to see if the Briton can win back his WBF, IBF, and WBO crowns, but there is no doubt in Fury’s mind as to who is the greatest heavyweight of this enticing era.
“I have proved time and again that I can never be written off,” he added. “I didn’t have my best performance but I pulled it out of the bag when it needed to be done.”
Fury added that his opponent kept getting up adding that it was the champion’s final right hand to the side of the head that finished him.
About the fourth round, he said, “I wasn’t hurt. You get hit, you wake up on the floor. I got up and was very conscious the whole time. I was one punch away from knocking him out in the whole fight….. I am the greatest heavyweight champion of my era, without a doubt. Number one. If you play with fire long enough you will get burned.”
‘I don’t respect you’
The pair put on one of the greatest heavyweight fights ever seen and Fury said he went over to embrace his opponent afterward but he did not welcome it.
Wilder’s alleged prickly reaction comes after he repeatedly accused Fury of cheating in their second bout, also won by Fury.
Fury said, “All the allegations that were made towards me … We fought like two warriors in there and I went over to shake his hand and say ‘well done’ and he was like ‘no, I don’t respect you’.”
“I was like ‘how can you say I cheated when you know in your heart, and your full team knows, that you just got beaten fair and square’.