Saturday December 1 at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, saw one of the most anticipated fights of 2018, and it did not disappoint.
This had undefeated defending WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder face off against undefeated challenger and former WBA (Super), WBO, IBF, IBO, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Although, both fighters have claimed victory after the fact the bout ended in what has become a controversial split draw, with the scorecard at 115-111 for Wilder, 114-112 for Fury, and 113-113.
The 12-round rollercoaster clash showed both fighters on top form and well matched - despite Fury’s 44-pound weight advantage – along with what was obviously a deep mutual respect.
Fury kept moving throughout, out-boxing and visibly frustrating the American for long, extended stretches, stopping only to taunt his opponent; variously putting his hands in the air or behind his back, before sticking out his tongue.
Wilder floored the Brit twice, however, bringing to bear a huge right hand in both the ninth and 12th; following through to pursue a knockout after each drop. To the amazement of everyone, Fury rallied to leap up from the canvas twice, although the second time took a little longer.
Holding court with fans in London yesterday on his astonishing revival in the 12th, Fury said: “However I got back up, I really don’t know.
“I was sound. I was asleep on the floor. I was like that,” he continued, closing his eyes to mimic the mid-bout snooze for appreciative onlookers.
“I was like this on me back. Like that,” he repeated.
Going on to relate his conversation with the referee, he said: “I opened me eyes, I jumped up, but he said to me ‘If you get knocked down, I won’t stop the fight.’
“He said, ‘I’ll tell you to go to the left, and go to the right. And if you can do that, and look at me, you’re telling me you’re alright.’
“He said ‘You alright?’ I said ‘Yes.’
“He said ‘Go the left.’ I went to the left. He said ‘Go to the right.’ I went to the right.
“Well he said ‘If you ain’t capable, most experienced referees in America will stop the fight. But if you can continue…’”
Taking leave of the fans afterwards, Fury is still visibly tender, telling one: “Gently. Just gently,” as he grasps his right to shake hands.
But before the fans leave, Fury goes on.
“Do you know what? That’s the biggest robbery in boxing that is. 8-4 it should’ve been; with the knockdowns, giving him ten eights. That was it.”
Whilst a rematch continues to be the hot topic, with Fury saying that his opponent will avoid this “at all costs”, and Wilder saying he “can’t wait”, Fury has said in a post-fight press conference that, “I don’t know what fight them judges were watching.”
With both Fury and Wilder calling for judge Alejandro Rochin to be fired, Fury added: “Rochin, you need sacking or to go to Specsavers, mate.”