It was one of the most anticipated heavyweight battles in recent memory. It went all the way between the two undefeated fighters, living up to its intense billing.
It ended in a draw.
Deontay Wilder was the unbeaten champion on home soil and had two knockdowns, but Tyson Fury outboxed his opponent over 12 rounds, leading to yet another split decision that has the boxing world torn.
At the end of the day, both fighters had their arms raised in Los Angeles’ Staples Center, with the judges scoring the fight: 115-111 to Wilder, 114-110 to Fury, and a 113-113.
Naturally, both fighters thought they had it won.
“I think, with the two knockdowns, I definitely won the fight,” Wilder said after the bout.
“We poured our hearts out tonight. We both were warriors. We both went hand to hand. But, with those two drops, I feel like I won the fight. I don’t think he had control of the fight. I wasn’t hurt. I came out slow. I rushed my punches.”
Fury, who was returning from a nearly three-year hiatus, was taunting Wilder for much of the fight, sticking his tongue out and putting his hands behind his back in the middle of each round.
While Wilder’s power was on show, Fury’s defence was arguably more impressive and consistent — the champion connecting on just 17 percent of his power shots, after landing 54 percent in his previous eight fights — with the Brit believing he should have won the fight.
“We’re on away soil, I got knocked down twice, but I still believe I won the fight, and I believe every man in here believes I won that fight tonight,” Fury said.
“But I’m showing total professionalism here. I’m a true champion, a true warrior. I went to Germany to fight Klitschko, I came out to America to fight Deontay Wilder.
“The world knows the truth. I thought I won the fight.”
The decision was split, and the scorecard showed just that, with each judge seeing every round differently throughout.
Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) will retain his belt, but half of the boxing community will feel as though he should have retained it, thanks to his two knockdowns against Fury. One came in the ninth round — though Fury was off balance when receiving the punch — while the other was a more significant blow in the 12th round, which looked to have knocked Fury out for good.
“I am a fighting man, and Jesus has got his power over me,” Fury said of the final round knockdown. “I was never gonna be knocked out tonight. I got put down with some good shots. I showed good heart to get back up.”
After the fight, Wilder and Fury embraced; the pair’s heartfelt exchanged coming after weeks of trash talk, and one of the fights of the year.
“When you at each other, and then you have a great fight like that, you give each other all you got; at the end of the fight, that’s what it’s all about, man,” Wilder said. “It’s not all about someone getting whooped, someone getting mad.”
With the draw, both fighters remain undefeated, so calls for a rematch naturally followed.
“One hundred percent we’ll do the rematch,” Fury said. “We are two great champions. Me and this man are the two best heavyweights on the planet.”
Both Wilder and Fury are interested in it — though it means Anthony Joshua will continue to wait in the wings — so the next questions become: when and where?
“I don’t know if it’ll be my next fight,” Wilder said. “I would love for it to be my next fight. Why not? Let’s get right back into it and give the fans what they wanna see. I think it was a great fight, and we need to do it again.”
When asked where he wants the fight to be, Wilder said: “It doesn’t matter to me. Whatever makes the most money; I think we can do it again in America.”
Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) also has another fight against Wilder in his sights — saying “100 percent, we’ll do the rematch.” - but admitted he was interested in a hiatus first.
“I’ve been away from my family for 10 weeks when I go back home,” Fury said.
“I’ve got four weeks and one on the way. I just wanna spend some time over the Christmas with my family; well deserved.”
Wilder was critical of himself, saying he rushed and overthrew his right hand, but he backs himself whenever the pair decide to go at it again: “The rematch, I guarantee, I’m (gonna) get him.”
Credit - Fox Sports