Tyson Fury got up from two fourth-round knockdowns and stopped Deontay Wilder in the 11th round Saturday night, retaining his WBC title in a thrilling conclusion to a superlative heavyweight trilogy.
Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) finished Wilder for the second straight time in their three bouts, but only after a wild back-and-forth evening featuring five combined knockdowns.
"It was a great fight," Fury said. "It was worthy of any trilogy in the history of the sport. He's a top fighter, and he gave me a real (test) tonight."
Wilder was knocked down in the third round and appeared to be on his way out, but he improbably rallied to knock down Fury twice in the final minutes of the fourth.
Wilder (42-2-1) absorbed enormous punishment and appeared to be physically drained for much of the bout, but the veteran champion showed his toughness while still throwing power shots on weary legs.
Fury knocked down Wilder again with a concussive right hand midway through the 10th, but Wilder stunned Fury in the final seconds of the round.
Fury finally finished it in the 11th, sending Wilder face-first to the canvas with a chopping right hand fired from high in the air. Fury climbed onto the ropes in weary celebration before a frenzied crowd of 15,820 at T-Mobile Arena on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip.
"Don't ever doubt me when the chips are down," Fury said. "I can always deliver."
Fury then broke into a rendition of "Walking in Memphis," in keeping with his post-fight tradition of serenading his crowds.
Wilder’s trainer explains lack of respect
Fury doubles down on Wilder criticism
After Tyson Fury criticised Deontay Wilder in the ring for failing to shake hands and show respect, the WBC champion doubled down once back in the dressing room.
Fury claims he almost broke ankle in third round
Tyson Fury seemed to be on the verge of victory when he dropped Deontay Wilder in the third round. However, the WBC champion revealed that, in knocking down his opponent, he almost inadvertently ended his own hopes in the fight as his weight carried him over his ankle.
“When I hit him with an uppercut, bang in the third round, dropped him, I nearly broke my ankle,” Fury said in the dressing room afterwards. “I went over on my ankle. My ankle’s hurt.”
Lewis hails pedigree of heavyweight division
Lennox Lewis hailed the pedigree of the heavyweight division after Tyson Fury knocked out Deontay Wilder to win a classic in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The 33-year-old defended his WBC title for the first time in a fight which saw both men sent to the canvas on multiple occasions at the T-Mobile Arena.
It occurred two weeks after Oleksandr Usyk stunned Anthony Joshua in London to claim the IBF WBA and WBO belts, and the last undisputed champion of the division talked up the quality of the heavyweight boxing scene.
“#FuryWilder3 was a crackin’ fight and puts the definitive stamp on this trilogy,” Lewis wrote on Twitter. “The story of the heavyweight division right now is pedigree. Big up to Tyson Fury on a great win.”
Fury: I was not willing to let it go to the scorecards
Fury reveals thought process after being knocked down in fourth round
Fury, who ultimately won by knockout in the eleventh round, seemed to be closing in on a far earlier victory when he dropped Wilder in the third round of their trilogy fight.
But in the following round, he was caught flush by a straight right hand that sent him sprawled to the canvas. Fury rose to beat the count but was yet to fully recover and was knocked down again in the round as Wilder attempted to finish the fight.
Fury, who remains unbeaten and has now cemented his legacy as the best heavyweight of his generation, admitted afterwards that he was “shook” but never considered himself on the brink of defeat.
“He caught me twice in the fourth round. I was never thinking ‘this is over’,” Fury said. “I was thinking ‘ok, good shot, but I will get you back in a minute’ and I did.
“I was very conscious, saw the ref go 3, 4. I was always there. He shook me, he put me down. That’s boxing and it’s life as well.
“It’s not about how many times you get put down, you’ve got to keep moving forward in a positive manner and keep fighting. Not just in a boxing fight, but in life in general.”
Steve Bunce’s fight report from Las Vegas
Steve Bunce was ringside for the heavyweight epic in Las Vegas. Here is his report on a fight for the ages:
The eleventh round will be the official result, but that tiny detail will never be able to capture the brilliance, bravery and beauty of what happened from the first bell until the last punch
Joshua officially triggers Usyk rematch clause
In other heavyweight news, Anthony Joshua has officially triggered his rematch clause with Oleksandr Usyk in the wake of Tyson Fury’s victory. That means Fury will be ordered to face his mandatory challenger, Dillian Whyte, next in what could be a possible homecoming fight in Manchester.
“He [Joshua] has got his head back in the game. He is training now and today we officially triggered the rematch for the Oleksandr Usyk fight which we will see early next spring. We’re looking for him to become a three-time heavyweight world champion,” Hearn’s promoter,
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