Tyson Fury deserves serious praise for nearly pulling off a remarkable comeback to the pinnacle of boxing on Saturday.
The 30-year-old shared a fascinating draw with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles, surviving two knockdowns in the ninth and 12th rounds.
Fury barely looked like a fighter returning from 30 months away from the sport and demonstrated the same counter-attacking style that took him to his peak.
It looked as if Wilder had done enough to win when he floored his opponent in the final round with a slashing left hook, but not so.
The Briton barely managed to regain his feet and see out the contest, which was scored 115-111 for Wilder, 114-112 for Fury and 113-113.
Fury was widely considered the more deserving winner and surely would’ve won the WBC title had he stayed upright for the final three minutes.
Based on the way both men spoke after the fight, a rematch appears almost certain.
Fury said, per BBC Sport: “We’re on away soil, I got knocked down but I still believe I won the fight. I'm showing total professionalism.
"The Gypsy King has returned. I'm a professional athlete who loves to fight. He is a fearsome fighter. The world knows the truth.”
Wilder, on the other hand, claimed his two knockdowns meant he “definitely won the fight”.
“I don't know if it [a rematch] will be my next fight but would love it to be. We need to do it again,” he added.
Given the 115-111 scorecard in Wilder's favour was so unexpected, though, it’s surprising Fury didn’t make more of a fuss in his post-fight press conference.
However, he insists there was a good reason for him choosing to show restraint.
"I was telling my brothers and my family to keep quiet,” Fury explained, per JOE.co.uk.
“There were about 8,000 travellers and Brits who had come from around the world, maybe even 10,000.
“They probably would have smashed this arena up if I'd instigated it and I mean to the floor!
“I just wanted to be an ambassador for my country and my people.”
Fury’s sentiments were echoed by his head trainer Ben Davison, who commended him for not losing his cool at the Staples Centre.
“I think everyone should be thankful to Tyson for being so professional with his conduct when all of us sitting in this room know who won that fight,” he said.
“He could have caused a riot if he'd kicked off about that scorecard.
“Really, he's owed a thank you for being professional.”
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