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.”
Fury recomposed himself in the fifth round and used his superior size effectively to sap the strength from Wilder. Constantly on the front foot, in a pattern reminiscent of the pair’s second bout, he began to dominate and, although the doctor repeatedly checked on Wilder in the corner, the American refused to give in.
In the tenth round, though, the American’s resistance finally broke and he was dropped by a big right hook. The Bronze Bomber fought on valiantly, and even landed some thudding shots of his own just before the bell, but there was to be no response in the eleventh.
With Wilder stumbling on his feet, Fury backed the American up against the ropes and landed another booming right hand and the referee ended the contest without administering a count, drawing an end to a truly momentous bout.
“He’s a tough man,” Fury said in the ring afterwards. “He took some big shots tonight. It was a great fight, as good as any trilogy in history.”
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