Los Angeles (December 1, 2018)-Deontay Wilder retained his title against former undisputed champion Tyson Fury after the judges ruled the fight a draw.
Surprisingly, Wilder was not his usual aggressive self early, as he appeared to be uncertain how to mount his attack against the slick-boxing Fury, who seemed to control much of the action during the fight’s early rounds. The self-proclaimed “Gypsy King” countered the hard-hitting champion constantly, landing accurate shots to the body and effectively countering Wilder. The Briton boxer sidestepped punches, dodged, and constantly taunted a confused Wilder until midway through the 9th round, when said taunting appeared to be the turning point in the fight, as Fury decided to stick out his head in a rather petulant way of saying “you can’t hit me” following a missed hook, and Wilder responded instantly, catching him with a rock-solid straight right that buckled Fury, sending him to the canvas. That later actually would actually prove to be the pivotal turning point in the fight, as it was later shown that at that point, judges had Fury ahead 7 rounds to 2, meaning Wilder was down by a full 5 points on the scorecard.
After the Fury knockdown, Wilder looked to go for the kill, but he may have punched himself out in the process of trying to secure the comeback win. After the explosive 9th round, Fury settled back in and controlled most of the 10th and 11th round.
The 12th round was wild, beginning with a little over 2 minutes left in the final round of the fight, when Wilder again caught with a rocket of a right hand, and then followed it up with a hellacious left hook, knocking Fury down again, and by the looks of it, out. Wilder certainly thought it was over, as did the commentators, and every objective observer in attendance. However, Fury miraculously made it back on his feet and told referee Jack Reiss that he was okay to continue. After the knockdown, Fury came back ferociously and hit Wilder with some power shots of his own, even staggering the 6’7″ champion before the final bell. By the end both men were unsteady on their feet and staggering as the final bell sounded to end the bout, it looked like Wilders’ reign of terror was over and he would lose his championship belt.
But in a way that only boxing can, the ending was wholly unsatisfying, and in fact, this story is not over at all. In a controversial split decision, one judge favored Wilder winning 115-111, while the other judge had Fury edging the defending champ 114-112. The last official turn in a scorecard that had each fighter deadlocked at an even 113 a piece.
Fury shared his thoughts about the controversial decision saying the following after the fight:
“We’re on away soil, I got knocked down twice, but I still believe I won that fight,” Fury said. “I’m being a total professional here. I went to Germany to fight [Wladimir] Klitschko [in 2015] and I went to America to fight Deontay Wilder. God bless America. The ‘Gypsy King’ has returned.”
Wilder had this to say about the split draw decision:
“I think with the two knockdowns I definitely won the fight. We poured our hearts out tonight. We’re both warriors, but with those two drops, I think I won the fight. I came out slow. I rushed my punches. I didn’t sit still. I was too hesitant. I started overthrowing the right hand and I just couldn’t adjust.”
The word rematch was thrown all over the place after the decision and both fighters agreed that they would love to fight again.
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