Deontay Wilder draw against Tyson Fury was the correct result despite Brit’s masterclass

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TYSON FURY was denied one of sport’s greatest redemption tales when a final-round knock-down earned Deontay Wilder a draw in an epic WBC world heavyweight title fight.


Thursday January 01, 1970

The Mancunian Gypsy King had failed a drug test, suffered crippling depression and ballooned to 28st in weight after defeating Wladimir Klitschko to claim three belts in 2015.


Thursday January 01, 1970

Tyson Fury was robbed of the WBC belt after judges deemed his fight against Deontay Wilder a draw
Tyson Fury was denied the WBC belt after judges deemed his fight against Deontay Wilder a draw
Reuters
Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder show their respect for each other after their title fight
Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder show their respect for each other after their title fight
Reuters
Tyson Fury looked down and out in the final round against Deontay Wilder
Tyson Fury looked down and out in the final round against Deontay Wilder
BT Sport
Tyson Fury showed amazing determination to twice get up off the canvas
Tyson Fury showed amazing determination to twice get up off the canvas
Reuters

But he out-boxed the unbeaten champion from Alabama for long stretches with a masterclass of evasion.

Fury was knocked down in the ninth and the twelfth to allow Wilder to hold on to his belt by this finest of margins – with a re-match now almost certain.

Wilder ended ahead on one judge’s scorecard, behind on another and level on that of Englishman Phil Edwards.


Thursday January 01, 1970

The two men showed enormous mutual respect and affection after the result was called – and both taunted Britain’s WBA, IBF and WBO champion Anthony Joshua, who they both claim, ducked a reunification contest with Wilder.

Tyson Fury blows a kiss to fans after drawing with Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles
Tyson Fury blows a kiss to fans after drawing with Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles
Reuters
Deontay Wilder retained his WBC belt after drawing with Tyson Fury
Deontay Wilder retained his WBC belt after drawing with Tyson Fury
Reuters
Tyson Fury kisses Deontay Wilder's fist after a hard-fought battle in the ring
Tyson Fury kisses Deontay Wilder’s fist after a hard-fought battle in the ring
Reuters
Tyson Fury called Anthony Joshua a 'chicken' after the fight
Tyson Fury called Anthony Joshua a ‘chicken’ after the fight
BT Sport

Yet this was a triumph for Fury, who defied widespread predictions that his ring-rust, along with his physical and mental tribulations, would leave him unable to live with Wilder.

In the 28th fight of his pro career, Fury may have lost his unblemished record but he certainly underlined his world-class status with the same sort of slippery ringcraft which had seen off Klitschko.
This man is a true piece of work. He is an erratic motormouth outside of the ring but a true proponent of the noble art when he is dancing and weaving on the canvas.

And while his first knock-down never looked too serious, the combination which floored him in the twelfth looked so decisive that Wilder performed a throat-slitting gesture to suggest it was game over.


Yet Fury showed extraordinary courage to continue and finish strongly with Wilder unable to finish the job in hand.

The sense of anticipation had been genuine in the build-up.

This promised the essence of great sport – the simple fact that nobody could honestly have a clue what was going to happen.

Fury had been away from elite action for three long years and, since dethroning the great Klitschko in Dusseldorf in 2015, he had been to depths of Hell and back.

Tyson Fury schooled Deontay Wilder throughout the fight
Tyson Fury schooled Deontay Wilder throughout the fight
Reuters
Tyson Fury's awkward fighting style stifled Deontay Wilder for most of the bout
Tyson Fury’s awkward fighting style stifled Deontay Wilder for most of the bout
Reuters
Tyson Fury was knocked to the ground twice to miss out on beating Deontay Wilder
Tyson Fury was knocked to the ground twice by Deontay Wilder
Reuters
Deontay Wilder sent Tyson Fury crashing to the floor in the ninth round
Deontay Wilder sent Tyson Fury crashing to the floor in the ninth round
Reuters

Nobody knew how the Mancunian would cope either mentally, given his issues with addiction and depression, or physically, given the gaining and losing of ten stones in weight.

Wilder was explosive, Fury elusive.

During fight week they had talked their way from mutual respect into open hostility in an attempt to increase the pay-per-view figures.

But at the end they knew they had helped to make one another as sportsmen of worldwide repute.

There were thousands of travelling Brits but still a significant chunk of empty seats in the 21,000-capacity Staples Center.

Wilder has struggled to find the fame and impact his talent deserves but this was billed as a breakthrough night for the man from Alabama.

The challenger looked supremely relaxed on his ring walk, dancing wildly as his travelling army serenaded him with a chorus of ‘Fury’s On Fire’.

But that was low-key compared to Wilder, who was dolled up in a peacock-feather robe, golden mask and jewelled crown.

Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder could not have dressed any more different as they arrived in the ring
Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder could not have dressed any more different as they arrived in the ring
Reuters
Deontay Wilder arrives in the ring wearing a mask for Tyson Fury showdown
Deontay Wilder arrives in the ring wearing a mask for Tyson Fury showdown
Reuters
Floyd Mayweather arrives ringside to watch Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder
Floyd Mayweather arrives ringside to watch Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder
Reuters
LA Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrives at the Staples Center to watch the fight
LA Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrives at the Staples Center to watch the fight
Rex Features
Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield turn out for the big fight
Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield turn out for the big fight
Getty Images – Getty

Anyone expecting a cagey start from the notoriously slippery Fury would have been surprised by a lively opening round.

Wilder, three stone lighter than the 18st 2lbs Fury, was the more attacking but the Gypsy King finished the opener strongly and played to the galleries with his arms aloft at the bell.

Fury’s jerking and jitterbugging, twitching and twerking must make him a nightmare for any opponent to nail down.

And while Wilder also took the second round, Fury’s exile from the big time – with just two low-key tune-up fights earlier this year – had not seriously affected his agility and speed.

He looked to have edged the third and by the fourth and fifth, some of Wilder’s work was verging on the desperate – those long, flailing arms failing to hit their rapid moving target, with Fury establishing superiority.

Fury was doing plenty of grinning.

He cannot have known for sure whether the old magic was still there until he’d got into the white heat of a proper battle but it was still apparent, all right.

Tyson Fury was constantly taunting Deontay Wilder throughout the fight
Tyson Fury was constantly taunting Deontay Wilder throughout the fight
BT Sport
Tyson Fury persistently taunted Deontay Wilder throughout the fight
Confident Tyson Fury celebrates at the end of a round against Deontay Wilder
Reuters
Tyson Fury grapples with Deontay Wilder to stop him throwing those heavy shots
Tyson Fury grapples with Deontay Wilder to stop him throwing those heavy shots
Reuters
Tyson Fury dodged most of what Deontay Wilder threw at him
Tyson Fury dodged most of what Deontay Wilder threw at him
Reuters
Deontay Wilder catches Tyson Fury with a left hand
Deontay Wilder catches Tyson Fury with a left hand
Reuters
Deontay Wilder was largely frustrated by Tyson Fury in LA
Deontay Wilder was largely frustrated by Tyson Fury in LA
Reuters

In the seventh, Wilder had him on the ropes with a flurry for punches but Fury produced the best shot – a right hook which buckled the champion’s knees.

Right at the end of the eighth, Wilder produced his most telling work of the night to date with a combination that rocked Fury back on his heels but the bell brought him swift relief.

And a minute into the ninth, Fury was sent crashing to the canvas – for just the third time in his career – with a clubbing right hook to the back of the head.

But Fury was soon back on his feet, showboating, sticking his tongue in a pretty convincing impersonation of a man who had not been badly hurt.

Deontay Wilder turned up the heat in the eighth and ninth rounds
Deontay Wilder turned up the heat in the eighth and ninth rounds
Reuters
Tyson Fury was floored for the third time in his career in the ninth round
Tyson Fury was floored for the third time in his career in the ninth round
Reuters
Tyson Fury was not seriously hurt and showed the referee he could continue
Tyson Fury was not seriously hurt and showed the referee he could continue
Reuters

And Fury landed the better shots to win the tenth and eleventh – Wilder, simply wilder and wilder, knowing he had to pull something special out of the bag.

But then, early in the final round, Wilder landed with a crunching right that sent Fury backwards before he flattened the challenger with a left.

The Brit was seemingly down and out, yet he simply did not know when he was beaten and after convincing ref Jack Reiss that he was fit to continue, he finished the contest strongly.

Tyson Fury was knocked down by a crunching right from Deontay Wilder in the final round
Tyson Fury was knocked down by a crunching right from Deontay Wilder in the final round
BT Sport
Tyson Fury amazingly got up after Deontay Wilder's final round knock down
Tyson Fury amazingly got up after Deontay Wilder’s final round knock down
Getty Images – Getty
It is tough to argue that a draw is not a fair result in this fight
It is tough to argue that a draw is not a fair result in this fight
Reuters

He leapt onto the ropes in his corner to celebrate a ‘victory’ that was far from certain.

And while the audience booed the judges’ decision – they hate a draw in any sport in the States – it was tough to argue that it was not a fair and just outcome.

Fury is an extraordinary fighter – and you can only imagine him being sharper still when these two meet again.