“The Gypsy King” is a world champion once again.
With a dominating performance capped off by a fight-ending flurry in the seventh round, Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) put away rival Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) to capture the WBC heavyweight title and maintain his status as boxing’s lineal heavyweight champion.
The emphatic finish also settled the score with Wilder after the two fought to a controversial split draw on Dec. 1, 2018.
Fury was the aggressor and the more accurate puncher in every round, setting the pace and refusing to give Wilder any room to unleash his vaunted knockout power. It was Fury who scored a clean knockdown in the third round with a right hook, and then again in round five with a sniper shot to the body.
Bloodied and battered, Wilder was trapped in the corner in round seven as Fury picked him apart, prompting his corner to throw in the towel to save him from further damage.
Afterwards, it was all love from the new WBC champion.
“I just want to say big shout-out to Deontay Wilder,” Fury said. “He came out here tonight, he manned up, he really did show heart of a champion. I hit him with a clean right hand and dropped him and he got back up and battled on into round seven. He is a warrior, he will be back, he will be a champion again.
“But I will say, the king has returned to the top of the throne.”
Fury then capped off his night by performing a couple of verses of the Don McLean classic American Pie, with a raucous crowd singing along with him.
It was the first loss of the 34-year-old Wilder’s career and post-fight he gave respect to Fury while suggesting that pre-fight injuries and distractions may have affected his performance.
“I’m doing good,” Wilder said. “Things like this happen. The best man won tonight, but my corner, my side threw in the towel. I’m ready to go out on my shield. I had a lot of things going on coming into this fight. My legs was already [hurt] coming in, a bunch of other little things.
“But I make no excuses tonight. I just wish that my corner would have let me go out on my shield, I’m a warrior and that’s what I do. But he did what he did, there’s no excuses, and we come back and be stronger.”
This rematch occurred at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday and the crowd was hot from the start as both fighters’ personalities were on full display from the moment they made their entrances.
Fury entered on a throne wearing a king’s robe and crown, while Wilder walked out to a live performance with his body decked out in dark body armor complete with an ornate skull mask.
From there, it was all Fury. The lineal champion had said that he would be more aggressive in this second meeting with Wilder and he lived up to his word, immediately taking the center of the ring and rarely relinquishing it as he walked Wilder down and used his jab to set up his power shots. Repeatedly, Wilder’s head was snapped backwards by Fury’s jab and his best defense seemed to be to clinch and lean on Fury.
Fury countered by wrapping Wilder up in a front headlock on multiple occasions (at one point, Fury also appeared to stick his tongue out to taste Wilder’s blood), which eventually cost Fury a point in the fifth round. However, it didn’t matter as his two knockdowns and sustained offense had him well-up on the scorecards before the fateful seventh.
With the win, Fury finally claimed the WBC title, the last of the major boxing titles that had eluded him.