In the early hours of Sunday 22nd February, The UK fight fans not lucky enough to be at the MGM Grand Arena, in Las Vegas tuned in to their TV’s expectedly alongside millions of others as Tyson Fury once more attempted to wrestle the heavyweight championship of the world from the fearsome wrecking machine, Deontay Wilder.
The pair had met at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles in December 2018. Wilder dropped Fury twice, including heavily in round 12, but Fury almost miraculously beat the count after seeming knocked out. Fury outboxed Wilder through long periods of that fight however, and the vast majority of people thought he deserved to win. He was to be denied one of sport’s most special comebacks as the fight ended in a controversial draw.
The build-up to the one of the biggest and most significant fights in heavyweight boxing was. Both Wilder and Fury had been getting into verbal confrontations throughout the media tour as the hyped up the rematch and were banned from facing off at the weigh-in by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after the pair got into a shoving match at the final press conference.
When the bell rung and the fight got underway, nobody could believe what they were seeing. Fury brought the fight to Wilder from the opening bell in a way that he didn’t in their first meeting. He was aggressive and took the fight to the WBC belt-holder. His tactic of being just over a stone heavier was clearly executed well and benefited him as he was able to rough Wilder up in the inside exchanges.
Wilder seemed to have problems negating the forward pressure of the Gypsy King and stunned the Bronze Bomber early in the third round with a combination ending in a left uppercut that perforated the eardrum of Wilder. Fury then dropped Wilder toward the end of the third round with a straight left followed by a cuffing right hook and looked to end the fight.
Wilder never really recovered from that punch and his equilibrium seemed to be badly affected as he seemed wobbly and shaky on his legs for the remainder of the contest, this wasn’t helped by the fact that Wilder came into the ring at his heaviest weight to date, 231lbs, 15lbs above his normal average without giving his body time to adjust to the new weight.
Wilder was caught heavily with a flush straight right hand seconds into the fifth stanza that made him dip at the knees before being knocked down for the second time, this time from a left hook to the body, as the Gypsy King further stamped his authority on the one sided battle. He again had the undefeated WBC Champion in some real trouble and was teeing off on the robes against a hurt and befuddled opponent.
More of the same was to follow in the next round as the Bronze Bomber continued to be outgunned and outmatched, especially up close in the inside exchanges and clinches. Wilder tried gamely to survive and keep hold of the title he had held since 2015 but his brave and valiant effort was to end in the following round.
After a sharp left hook in the first 30 seconds of the round had wobbled Deontay once again, Tyson Fury began piling on the pressure, stepping onto the front foot ever more aggressively and confidently. As he looked to close the show, and that’s exactly what he hid – and in emphatic style when Wilder’s corner threw in the towel.
Fury gave them little choice as the bronze bomber had stopped throwing back like he was in previous rounds, and was trapped in the neutral corner where he was shipping punishment from the barrage of shots the 273lb Gypsy King was unleashing on him. In all truth, Wilder was outclassed and had to be saved from his own stubborn bravery.
This victory marked another chapter in the extraordinary career of Fury who – despite the doubters – became a 2x undefeated heavyweight world champion. His issues outside of the ring have been well documented but his ability to overcome is what has made him a cult hero not just in the UK, but worldwide.
His perseverance through the most bleakest of times; including drug and alcohol abuse, a weight gain to almost 400lbs, mental health issues and suicide contemplation has led him to once again return to the pinnacle of the sport he loves. solidified by his 2nd Ring Magazine belt, joining Muhammad Ali as the only other heavyweight in history to achieve the feat.
I’ve been as high as you can go and as low as you can go. I showed the world that it can be done, anything is possible with the right mindset. If you believe in yourself, sacrifice and dedicate, with the right help you can come back.Tyson Fury, heavyweight world champion.
Anthony Joshua who holds the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF titles will be defending his belts against Kubrat Pulev next at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London in November, and Fury will meet Wilder for a 3rd time to end the enthralling, enchanting and epic trilogy in October, with a potential mega-fight on the horizon. A fight that will have a lasting legacy on the history of heavyweight boxing.