Tyson Fury, the 256½-pound Englishman, was laid out on his back panting as Deontay Wilder engaged in a victory dance in the twelfth round of their match at Staples Center on Saturday night. The fight was over by knockout, or so the world thought. As the referee counted, Fury got up. The crowd collectively gasped.
To the surprise of many, the WBC heavyweight title main card fight between Wilder and Fury resulted in a draw. It was the tale of two drastically different boxers in style and stature and a decision that ignited much criticism and controversy.
Wilder, the six-foot-seven Tuscaloosa, Alabama native, walked towards the ring sporting a gold crown and matching face mask with a peacock feathered cape. Wilder was led by Los Angeles native rapper Jay Rock who performed his hit song, “Win”. He entered the ring as the champ with a 40-0 record that included 39 knockouts and the WBC heavyweight belt.
Six-foot-nine Fury kissed his rosary and sang along to a mixed playlist that included Jay-Z’s “Run This Town” as he walked towards the ring. Fury returned to the ring after a two-year absence due to his battle with drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues and weight gain, where he ballooned from 260 to 400 pounds. He entered the bout with a record of 27-0.
“Fighting gives me a passion, a goal, a purpose in life,” stated Fury, which was exhibited by the sheer will he displayed to rise from the blow that floored him in the final round knockdown.
According to the judges’ scorecards, Wilder was being outboxed for nearly the entire fight. The saving grace for Wilder was managing to land punches that produced two knockdowns in the ninth and twelfth rounds. Wilder heavily relied on landing a power punch, which appeared to tire him as the rounds wore on, whereas Fury continued to consistently land jabs and connect on combinations.
“Deontay Wilder is relying on one move,” Floyd Mayweather told Showtime during the fight.“As a fighter, you have to use other weapons.”
Fury displayed his mastery of mind games as he stuck his tongue out and wiggled it during the fight. He pranced around the ring with his hands held high trash-talking to taunt Wilder.
Ultimately, Judge Alejandro Rochin of Mexico scored the fight 115-111 for Wilder, Canadian Judge Robert Tapper had it 114-112 for Fury, and British Judge Phil Edwards had it 113-113, which means that both fighters remained unbeaten.
With this decision, Wilder retained his belt for the eighth time while Fury holds on to the lineal championship in his first defense. Wilder and Fury made out with a multi-million dollar paydays. Wilder earned at least $4 million, while Fury racked up $3 million, in addition to the millions more that will be divided from their percentages of the profits from the event.
The split decision bodes well for a rematch between the pair.
Wilder vs. Fury Undercard Results
Jarrett Hurd defeated Jason Wellborn by TKO in the fourth-round
Luis “King Kong” Ortiz defeated Travis Kauffman by TKO in the 10th-round
Joe Joyce defeated Joe Hanks by TKO in the first-round
Oleksandr Gvozdyk defeated Adonis Stevenson by TKO in the 11th-round