God Save the Gypsy King: Tyson Fury wins TKO7, claims heavyweight title
LAS VEGAS, Nevada., February 22, 2020 – God Save The Gypsy King.
In the biggest heavyweight championship fight since Lennox Lewis defeated Mike Tyson in 2002, Great Britain’s Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) dominated American Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 42 KOs) in their rematch, delivering the improbable power-punching clinic he promised en route to a seventh-round TKO victory. Wilder’s corner threw in the towel for an official stoppage at 1:39 of the round with their fighter pinned into the corner taking punishment.
At the post-fight news conference with his new WBC belt in hand, Fury said, “This belt is the one that’s evaded me for many years. I’ve now finished my collection of every belt in boxing.
“We always had a dream of coming to Las Vegas, taking over and putting on good fights … We got to see two undefeated heavyweight champions in their prime do battle,” said Fury. “Deontay Wilder, let me tell you, he never went down easy. I’ve got a lump on the side of me temple here … he hit me hard there.
“I had to overcome a lot in this thing tonight. If he couldn’t beat me as 50 percent of the man I am today (last December), he never had a chance tonight. Can’t wait for the next fight, the rematch if he wants it.”
Fury transforms from slick boxer to powerhouse champion
In front of a sellout crowd of 15,816 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena filled with enthusiastic British fans in full voice, Fury defied the oddsmakers and skeptics. He was in charge from the moment he stepped into the ring, moving confidently forward with aggression and accuracy. Wilder never settled down or got his motor running. As thudding right hands hit the mark, Wilder’s much-admired power didn’t seem to trouble Fury in return. It quickly became clear Wilder was the man in trouble.
The first knockdown came in the third round. Fury took a page straight from Wilder’s playbook, landing a left jab followed by a right hook Wilder didn’t see. He fell hard to the canvas, only the second knockdown of his pro career, and by far the most serious. Fury rushed at Wilder after he took the count, blasting him with punches. Wilder fell again. While ruled a slip, it rattled Wilder. Was it going to be over so quickly?
In the fourth round, Wilder battled to stay in the fight. With Fury coming at him Wilder took another hard fall to the canvas getting out of the way, again ruled a slip by referee Kenny Bayliss. Wilder resorted to holding to get his wits about him. Complicating his circumstances, Wilder began bleeding from the ear, a sign he may have suffered a broken eardrum. Wilder felt the title slipping through his fingers. Still, Wilder made it back to his corner.
In the sixth round, Fury pinned Wilder into the corner, and the fight defaulted into a brawl. Wilder complained to Bayliss about Fury’s dirty tactics. Wilder finally escaped on wobbly feet with Fury stalking him, leaning on the ropes and bleeding at the end of the round. No one would have blamed trainers Jay Deas and Mark Breland for stopping the fight. But they allowed Wilder to go out for one more round.
In the seventh round, Wilder tried firing his jab ahead of his much feared right hand. There was nothing left. Fury countered with a hard left. Wilder began throwing haymakers in desperation as Fury backed him into a corner. Under a flurry of punches from Fury, Wilder’s corner called for the fight to end. It was the right decision at the right time, allowing the proud champion enough time to go out as a warrior.
After the bout, Deas said it was Mark Breland’s call. “Mark threw the towel, I didn’t think he should have. Deontay’s the kind of guy, he’s a go out on his shield kind of guy. He would tell you straight up, don’t throw the towel in. He does not want that.
“We’ve always got to consider Deontay is a fearsome puncher,” continued Deas. “He does always have that shot to land a big shot and turn things around. He’ll be back; he’ll be all the better for it. Congratulations to Tyson and his team, a class act all the way.”
Fury: ‘The king has returned to the top’
“A big shout out to Deontay Wilder,” said Fury after his victory. “He came here tonight, and he manned up tonight, and he got back and battled. He really did show the heart of a champion.
“I hit him with a clean right that dropped him, and he got back up. He is a warrior. He will be back. He will be champion again. But I will say, the king has returned to the top of the throne.”
Fury didn’t disappoint the partisan British fans packing the arena. “I said I’d sing a song tonight,” inviting fans to sing along as he serenaded them with one of his favorites, “American Pie” by Don McLean. They joined in at full volume.
Wilder: ‘Ready to go out on my shield’
Wilder was gracious in defeat. “I’m doing good. Things like this happen. The best man won tonight, but my corner threw in the towel, and I was ready to go out on my shield. I had a lot of things going on heading into this fight. It is what it is, but I make no excuses tonight. I just wish my corner would have let me go out on my shield. I’m a warrior. He had a great performance, and we will be back stronger.”
“Even the greatest have lost and came back, that is just part of it. You just take it for what it is. I can make no excuses tonight. I had a lot of complications. But we’ll come back stronger next time around. This is what big-time boxing is all about, the best must fight the best. I appreciate all the fans that came out and supported the show, and I hope that everyone gets home safely,” said Wilder. The British fans joined the capacity crowd in warm applause for Wilder’s effort.
Following the bout, Wilder was taken to a local Las Vegas hospital for treatment, possibly for a broken eardrum.
Fury’s strategy is rendered brilliant in hindsight. Adding the weight boosted his power without slowing him down in the ring. He was fit, focused, and beautifully prepared. While he didn’t deliver his promised second-round knockout, he delivered a wildly entertaining if one-sided fight.
“I was pretty pissed because I predicted round two,” laughed Fury. “I said we didn’t mind revealing the game plan. We didn’t have anything to hide. I said what I was going to do. I was going to go across the ring to him, put him on the back foot and unload big shots on him. I know at 6 foot 9 and 270 pounds, if I hit anybody hard, I’ll knock them out. I’ve never been the type of boxer to sit down on my punches and let fly. I’ve always been a slick master boxer, jab move, get out of the way.”
With the move from trainer Ben Davison to Sugarhill Steward, Fury transformed himself into a power-punching champion. “When I made the decision to move from Ben Davison, who did a fantastic job, I done it for a reason. It worked out for the best. I believe in Sugarhill, I believe in the style he teaches. I knew that we’d get it right on the night. Everything I did in the ring, we practiced in the gym. Setting up off the jab, and landing the detonation right hand. Deontay Wilder is a very tough guy. He took a lot of good rights. They did the right thing because it was only a matter of time before he got severely hurt.”
Wilder wasn’t able to maintain a proper distance from Fury, and he could never get his bearings to catch up. He failed to adjust his game plan, coming in without any alternatives. After blasting through so many opponents, to see Fury walking through his punches must have been more demoralizing than anyone can imagine.
The cut Fury suffered in the fight against Otto Wallin was never a factor in the fight. Instead, it was Fury drawing blood from Wilder.
Wilder, a man from humble beginnings, came to boxing at the late age of 20 and has learned the sport in full public view. He’s acquired maturity, and he has also acquired patience. His maturity, mental strength, and the support of his loyal, longtime team which will allow him to reset and look toward an inevitable third fight.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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