LOS ANGELES, Calif., December 1, 2018 – In front of an enthusiastic crowd of 17,698 at the Staples Center, Tyson Fury of Great Britain and American Deontay Wilder gave the fans their money’s worth with a dramatic fight and an equally dramatic ending no one saw coming.
While most observers had Fury winning, Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) and Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) walked away with a spilt draw. Scores were 115-111 for Wilder, 114-112 for Fury (corrected after a math error) and 113-113 even. Wilder scored two knockdowns, including one in the 12th round that would have ended the fight against anyone else. But Fury rolled up enough rounds on the scorecards for both men to walk away without their first loss.
“I think with the two knockdown, I definitely won the fight,” said Wilder. “We poured out hearts out tonight. We’re both warriors, we both went head to head. I don’t think he had control of the fight. I didn’t sit still. I was pressuring him..”
“When you’re at each other and you have a great fight like that, you’re giving it all you’ve got, that’s what it’s all about. We’re the best in the world. The respect was mutual.”
But Wilder admitted he had trouble adjusting his right hand against Fury, “I was rushing my punches, that was something I usually don’t do. Trying to knock a guy out. I was forcing my punches too much instead of being patient and waiting on it. I wanted to really get him out of there and give the fans what they wanted to see.”
Fury also felt he won. “I got knocked down twice, but I still believe I won the fight and I believe every man in here believes I won the fight … The world knows the truth, I thought I won the fight.
“God bless him and his team, God bless America, God bless every fan who traveled from around the world to see me tonight …Listen, I came here tonight and fought my heart out. That’s the second best heavyweight in the world behind me. We can’t complain, we’re both going home to our families safe tonight,” said Fury.
Fury’s style disarms Wilder
Much like he did against Wladimir Klitschko, Fury controlled the fight by making himself impossible to hit with his cat on a hot tin roof style. Fury’s twitchy head and upper body feints disarmed Wilder, who couldn’t find any openings for his power punches. While Wilder kept looking for one big punch to end the fight, Fury was racking up round after round with jabs and smart combinations. Fury could see Wilder’s right hand coming, and got under it.
Wilder has won all but one of forty fights by knockout. He doesn’t really have a Plan B.
Round after round, Wilder walked back to his corner without laying much leather on Fury. He didn’t know how to change the rhythm of the fight. Midway though the fight, Fury’s stamina didn’t let him down, keeping up a brisk pace. It was a remarkable achievement after losing 150 pounds from a peak of 400 pounds for this fight.
12th round knockdown by Wilder not enough
Wilder’s left eye began to swell up by Round 7. He showed no defense for Fury’s right hand. Fury wasn’t especially busy, but with Wilder landing very little, Fury kept besting the American to win rounds.
But a fight can change with one punch – or two. Wilder landed a left hook and a right behind Fury’s ear to score a knockdown early in the ninth round. Wilder tried to pour it on, but he couldn’t stop Fury, who knows how to survive. Fury came back with a strong tenth round. Wilder whistled shots past Fury as he bobbed and ducked.
Wilder needed a knockout heading into the 12th round to win. For a brief moment, it seemed Wilder made it happen when the punches he’d looked for all night finally landed, the right hand and left hook combination. If veteran California referee Jack Reiss had waived off the fight without a count, no one would have questioned him. But Reiss administered the ten count, and Fury rolled to his knees and got up, finishing the fight with the same gusto he started it with.
The knockdowns saved the loss for Wilder, but Fury’s fortitude saved the loss for him. In this context, the draw isn’t as hard to take as it was when Gennady Golovkin was handed a draw against Canelo Alvarez in their first bout.
Fury: A great experience
“It was what it was, it was a great fight. I’m not going to call Wilder any names,” said Fury after the fight. “I’m not the lineal champion for nothing. So I set a precedent tonight. It was a great experience.’
Fury’s trainer Ben Davison said “Everybody should be thankful to Tyson for his conduct, when everyone in this room knows who won the fight He could have caused a riot. “ Fury agreed, saying :”They probably would have smashed this arena up had I instigated. I just wanted to be an ambassador for my country and my people.”
“If you look back a year ago today, I was in terrible shape, It’s no secret what I’ve been though, It’s proof anyone with the right help and the right guidance can turn their life around. I wasn’t just fighting for myself. I was representing everyone who suffers around the world. I had to get up. I had to show people anything is possible.,” said Fury. “I rise to the occasion.”
“I learned about myself that I have heart,” said Wilder. “As a champion I wanted to finish in great fashion. You can be too naïve to sit back and think you’re ahead. You never know what the judges are looking at. Sometimes you just have to up the pace or do a little bit more. I didn’t think I was down at all, especially after those two knockdowns. I thought I sealed the deal.”
Wilder and Fury both up for a rematch
Both Fury and Wilder said they’d welcome a rematch. “I’ve always wanted to unify the division. The heavyweight division is too small to have some many champ0ions. That’s always been my issue. I feel it makes the heavyweight division that much more interesting
“I’d be satisfied with either or. Me and Fury put on a hell of a performance tonight. I know what the fans want, and I’m with the fans,” said Wilder.
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren said he’d love a rematch, and he’s like to stage it at one of England’s stadiums such as Wembley in London. Fury said, “Not Trafford? Come on, Frank!” Trafford Stadium in Fury’s hometown of Manchester holds 75,000 people.
“Whatever the result, I thought Tyson won it, it’s a fight everyone wants to see again. And we want to do it again. We want it in the UK. Let him have some home turf. On home turf, he would have won this fight,” said Warren.
In classic Fury fashion, he closed the post-fight news conference leading the boxing media in a sing along of the 1970s classic hit, “American Pie.”
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Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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