- 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism
- ESPN.com boxing writer since 2005
- Five years at USA Today
LAS VEGAS — Tyson Fury, known as “The Gypsy King,” can now be known simply as the king.
Fury dispensed with the skillful boxing that he was so successful with the first time he met Deontay Wilder and followed through with his stated plan to attack him, and attack him he did — relentlessly.
Fury scored a pair of knockdowns in a dominating seventh-round knockout victory to retain the lineal heavyweight championship and seize Wilder’s WBC belt before an electric, sold-out crowd of on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The finish came at 1 minute, 39 seconds when the fight was waved off after Wilder’s corner threw in the towel.
Many were skeptical that Fury would go on the attack against Wilder, the most devastating puncher in boxing and one of the biggest punchers of all time. But Fury, who at 273 pounds was at nearly the heaviest of his career — and 16.5 pounds heavier than in their first fight — was serious about fighting instead of boxing.
Fury, who came into the fight with new trainer Javan “Sugar” Hill, the nephew of the late Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward, who Fury hired after parting ways with Ben Davison, celebrated in the ring following his post-fight television interview by leading the crowd in singing Don McLean’s famed “American Pie.”
The fight was a far different one than when they squared off in December 2018 in Los Angeles, where Fury outboxed Wilder for long stretches but Wilder knocked Fury down in the ninth round and then seemingly knocked him out with a brutal combination in the 12th round that Fury somehow survived. But in the end, the judges rules it a split draw: 114-112 Fury, 115-111 Wilder and 113-113.
Both men called for an immediate rematch but eventually each took a pair of interim bouts and won to set up the massively anticipated sequel.
This time Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs), 34, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, came nowhere near doing the kind of damage he did to Fury the first time, nor did Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), 31, bother to box. He wanted to fight.
With a crowd filled with Fury’s British countrymen, Fury and Wilder went right at each other at the opening bell with Wilder shooting jabs and also landing two good right hands but not cleanly. Fury was more patient but eventually backed Wilder up with a combination that brought the crowd to its feet. He landed a few more shots later in the round to clearly take the opening frame.
Fury landed a right to the side of Wilder’s head early in the second round and forced him back several times and also stopped him from advancing with his jab. He had predicted a second-round knockout.
Fury, who retained the lineal title for the sixth time, continued to press the action in the third round, landing sharp combinations and jabs and a right over the top that forced Wilder to grab before Fury unleashed a right hand that caught Wilder and dropped him. Fury raised his hands over his head, but Wilder beat the count and seemed to be in trouble. He went down again moments later but referee Kenny Bayless rules it a slip.
Wilder, who was making his 11th title defense, was still unsteady in the fourth round and tried to tie Fury up while Fury continued to land right hands and then he landed a left to the body in the fifth round drop Wilder for the second time in the fight in another dominating round in which Wilder looked like he very little left.
Wilder looked done in the sixth round. His legs were shaky, he could barely move around the ring it seemed like a huge effort just to keep his hands up to avoid Fury’s punches.
Wilder, who was bidding to become the first American lineal heavyweight champion since Hasim Rahman knocked out Lennox Lewis in a huge upset in their first fight in 2001, was still very unsteady in the seventh and nothing left as Fury pinned him in a corner and battered him with punches until Wilder’s corner threw in the towel, which Bayless recognized and waved off the fight.
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