Boxing: Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury Ends In Controversial Draw
The gigantic British challenger overcame two knockdowns late in their 12-round heavyweight title fight Saturday night and fought the hard-hitting Wilder to a controversial split draw before an announced crowd of 17,698 at Staples Center.
England’s Fury showed a tremendous amount of courage by getting off the canvas both in the ninth and 12th rounds, but he couldn’t take Wilder’s WBC title. Those two knockdowns ultimately cost Fury a victory because only one judge – Canada’s Robert Tapper – scored their fight for Fury (114-112).
One judge, California’s Alejandro Rochin, scored the bout for Wilder (115-111). The lone British judge, Phil Edwards, scored the action even (113-113) in the main event of Showtime Pay-Per-View’s four-fight telecast.
“I think with the two knockdowns I definitely won the fight,” Wilder said. “We poured our hearts out tonight. We’re both warriors, but with those two drops I think I won the fight.”
Fury obviously disagreed.
“We’re on away soil,” Fury said, “I got knocked down twice, but I still believe I won that fight.”
Showtime’s unofficial punch statistics credited Fury with landing 13 more overall punches than Wilder (84-of-327 to 71-of-430). According to those statistics, Fury connected on more power shots (38-of-104 to 31-of-182) and more jabs (46-of-223 to 40-of-248).
Wilder and Fury both said their open to an immediate rematch. Fury would’ve owed Wilder an immediate rematch had he dethroned Wilder, but now it’ll be up to Wilder to determine who he wants to fight next.
“We gave the fans a great fight tonight,” Wilder said, “and I’m ready to do it again.”
The 6-feet-7, 212½-pound Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, made the eighth defense of the WBC championship he won by out-pointing Bermane Stiverne in January 2015 in Las Vegas.
The 6-feet-9, 256½-pound Fury, meanwhile, remains boxing’s lineal heavyweight champion because he hasn’t lost the four titles he won from Wladimir Klitschko in the ring. Fury, 30, vacated those crowns two years ago to seek treatment for alcoholism, cocaine addiction and depression, and didn’t box for 2½ years.
“We’re the two best in the world and we proved it tonight,” Wilder said. “When you get two warriors, you get a great fight. That’s what we proved tonight and I’m ready to do it again.”
Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs), unusually athletic for someone so big, spent much of their fight using upper-body and lower-body movement to avoid Wilder’s wild rights and lefts and mostly stayed out of Wilder’s punching range. The challenger appeared headed toward a points victory until the final round.
Wilder blasted Fury with a right-left combination, though, that dumped him flat on his back with just over two minutes to go in the fight. That shot looked like it would finish Fury for good, but he showed a huge heart by getting up from the canvas again.
He barely beat referee Jack Reiss’ count, yet eventually landed right hands that made a tired Wilder retreat. As much as Wilder tried, he couldn’t landed another hard shot on Fury before the final bell sounded.
An energized Fury fought well during the 11th round, when he landed just enough shots and was effective enough defensively to keep Wilder from accomplishing much.
Fury overcame his toughest round of the fight to that point, the ninth, by backing up Wilder with two right hands early in the 10th round. Wilder appeared fatigued during the 10th round because he expended so much energy while trying to finish Fury after dropping him in the ninth.
Wilder finally landed a punch hard enough to floor Fury about a minute into the ninth. The champion connected with a short left hook that left Fury in a vulnerable position, bent over near his own corner.
Wilder capitalized by drilling Fury with an overhand right to the side of his head that floored Fury. The shaken challenger barely beat Reiss’ count.
He held Wilder briefly once he reached his feet, but also fended off Wilder by landing multiple hard right hands that stopped Wilder in his tracks. Wilder missed several hard shots while trying to finish off Fury, which left him too tired to hurt Fury again in that round.
Wilder continued to swing and miss during the eighth round, until he landed a right and a left just before that round ended. Fury drilled Wilder with a hard jab 45 seconds into the eighth round and quickly slipped Wilder’s overhand right.
Fury clocked Wilder with a hard counter right hand just before the midway mark of the seventh round. Wilder tried to attack Fury after taking that shot, but Fury tied him up against the ropes.
Fury also beat Wilder to the punch as they traded jabs just before the seventh round ended.
Fury briefly went southpaw early in the sixth round and had some success. He backed Wilder into the ropes, but was careful to avoid the dangerous champion’s counters. Wilder then found a home for his jab several times toward the end of the sixth
Following a fourth round in which his hard jabs bloodied Fury’s nose, Wilder couldn’t catch up with the elusive Fury during a fifth round in which there weren’t many clean punches landed.
Wilder hit Fury with a stiff jab that backed him up temporarily with just over two minutes to go in the fourth round. Wilder landed another jarring jab later in the fourth, when blood began flowing from Fury’s nose.
After clipping Fury with that second jab, Wilder missed with a wild left hand and a right hand as Fury moved away from him.
With just over a minute remaining in the third round, Fury fired two hard right hands at Wilder, who had just missed wildly with a right hand of his own. Fury connected with an overhand right that snuck through Wilder’s guard just before the third round ended.
The second round amounted largely to a chess match, and neither fighter landed many significant shots. Wilder landed a hard right hand toward the end of the round, as Fury backed toward his own corner.
Earlier in the second round, Fury placed Wilder in a headlock as Wilder tried backing him into a neutral corner.
Wilder tried trapping Fury into a neutral corner about 1:15 into the first round, but Fury moved out of that position. Fury landed a straight right hand with just under a minute to go in the first round, which made Wilder smile at him and move forward.
Fury made Wilder miss badly with two right hands late in the first round. After the second of those misses, Fury caught Wilder with a right hand that stung the champion. Wilder complained to Reiss after the round ended that Fury had hit him on the back of his head. Before facing Wilder, Fury fought two nondescript opponents after returning to the gym early this year to begin shedding an enormous amount of weight.
The Manchester native ended a 2½-year layoff by stopping Switzerland’s Sefer Seferi (23-2-1, 21 KOs) after four essentially useless rounds June 9 in Manchester. Fury comfortably out-boxed Italy’s Francesco Pianeta (35-5-1, 21 KOs) to win a 10-round unanimous decision in his next bout, August 18 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
His defeat of Seferi marked the first time Fury had boxed since he upset Klitschko to win the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles three years ago in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Fury gave up those four titles after twice canceling an immediate rematch with Klitschko to seek treatment for alcoholism, cocaine addiction and depression. He was very open throughout the buildup toward his shot at Wilder about the depths of his depression and how he often contemplated suicide.
The colorful Fury lost nearly 150 pounds from time he reached almost 400 pounds until he weighed in Friday at 256½ pounds. Despite the draw, Fury rightfully was proud of his performance against an opponent commonly considered boxing’s most dangerous puncher.
“I hope I did you all proud after nearly three years out of the ring,” Fury said. “I was never going to be knocked out tonight. I showed good heart to get up. I came here tonight and I fought my heart out.”