Saturday night’s showdown between lineal heavyweight champ Tyson Fury and former titlist Deontay Wilder will go down as one of the great heavyweight fights of all time.
Boxing has certainly seen its fair share of memorable championship fights, from Ali-Frazier, Holyfield-Bowe, and Lewis-V.Klitschko to name a few, and now you can add Fury-Wilder III to that list.
Coming off of a dominating stoppage win in their February 2020 rematch, many expected Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) to once again retain his title in definitive fashion, and it appeared that would be the case early on.
After two close but tentative opening rounds, Fury landed a hard right cross that sent Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) down in the third round. Wilder was unsteady but managed to survive the round as the bell run moments later.
The fourth round saw Wilder appearing tired and Fury looked to keep the pressure on in hopes of ending things early, but suddenly Wilder unleashed a crushing right hand that put Fury on the canvas. Stunned, Fury got up to his feet and tried to re-establish control but Wilder found an opening and another huge shot sent Fury down for the second time in the round – the first time in his career he had been floored twice in the same round. Fortunately for Fury, the bell would ring after getting back up.
In the fifth, Wilder looked to continue where he left off and had a solid round as Fury looked to regain his composure. However, Fury managed to keep his activity level up, outboxing Wilder who began to fade as the fight wore on.
With Wilder looking exhausted in the second half of the fight, but still showing heart and determination, Fury finally dropped him again in the 10th round. To his credit, Wilder again rose to his feet ready to fight. A raucous crowd cheered the effort as Wilder made it out of the round.
The 11th round is where it would ultimately end with Fury smashing Wilder against the ropes and connecting with a brutal right hand that sent Wilder crashing to the canvas face-first. Referee Rusell Mora had seen enough and promptly waived it off.
“It was a great fight tonight, as good as any trilogy in history,” said Fury after the fight. “October 9, 2021, will go down in history, I hope. I always said I was the best in the world and he was the second-best. Don’t ever doubt me. When the chips are down, I will always deliver.”
“Like the great John Wayne said, iron and steel, baby,” Fury added. “I give God the glory for the victory. [Wilder] is a tough man. He took some big shots tonight. And I want to say that if it wasn’t for SugarHill, America, and Detroit’s own, I wouldn’t have gotten through that fight tonight. He said, ‘get your jab working, big guy, and throw that right hand down the middle. That’s how the big dogs do it.’”
Wilder did not stick around in the ring after the fight, as he was escorted to the locker room for evaluation but later said, “I did my best, but it wasn’t good enough. I’m not sure what happened. I know that in training he did certain things, and I also knew that he didn’t come in at 277 to be a ballet dancer. He came to lean on me, try to rough me up and he succeeded.”