Boxing – Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury – WBC World Heavyweight Title – Staples Centre, Los Angeles, United States – December 1, 2018 Deontay Wilder reacts after knocking down Tyson Fury Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – American Deontay Wilder retained his WBC heavyweight title after a thrilling split decision draw with Britain’s Tyson Fury at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, leaving both fighters talking up a rematch.
The hard-hitting Wilder knocked Fury down twice, including a brutal right-left combination that sent the towering Fury to the canvas in the 12th in what initially looked to be the end of the fight.
But the ‘Gypsy King’ willed himself to his feet and held on to send the fight to the judges, who rewarded him for controlling much of the fight behind his long jab, precise footwork and slippery defense.
One judge scored the fight 115-111 to Wilder, another 114-112 to Fury and the third had it 113-113.
The scorecards showed that Wilder benefited greatly from his two knockdowns in the ninth and the 12th, which all three judges scored 10-8 in favor of the champion. In all the other rounds the fighters were separated by a single point.
Wilder said he thought the battle was over when he saw Fury’s eyes “roll into the back of his head” as he fell hard on his back early in the 12th round.
Wilder at first celebrated with a shimmy only to appear stunned when Fury beat the count and got back on his feet.
Both fighters preserved their unbeaten records with the draw, but both thought they had done enough to earn the victory in the bout, which played out before 17,698 fans in downtown Los Angeles.
“I think with the two knockdowns I definitely won the fight,” said Wilder (40-0-1), adding that he started slow and rushed his punches in a sub-par performance.
“We poured our hearts out tonight. We’re both warriors but with those two drops I think I won the fight,” he said in the ring after the fight.
“When I rush my punches like that I’m never accurate.
“The rematch I guarantee I’m going to get him.”
Former world champion Fury (27-0-1), in just his third bout since a two-and-a-half year absence from the sport following mental health issues and a failed drug test, was convinced he should have walked away with the title.
“We’re on away soil, I got knocked down twice, but I still believe I won that fight,” said Fury, who out-landed Wilder 84-71 overall.
“That man is a fearsome puncher and I was able to avoid that.
“The world knows I won the fight.”
After exchanging harsh words in the leadup to the fight, both men were full of praise for each other following the final bell and were eager for a rematch.
“One hundred percent we’ll do the rematch,” Fury said.
Fury also taunted Anthony Joshua, the undefeated holder of the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO crowns, from the ring.
“We are two great champions,” he said. “Me and this man are the two best heavyweights on the planet.”
A win for Wilder would have likely set up a blockbuster world heavyweight unification title bout next year against the 22-0 Briton, a fight the American has long sought.
But in the widely expected rematch with Fury, the 33-year-old ‘Bronze Bomber’ will likely need to win to get his shot.
Editing by Peter Rutherford/Sudipto Ganguly
Klitschko looks beyond Joshua fight, has no plans to retire
Boxing – Anthony Joshua & Wladimir Klitschko Press Conference – RTL, Cologne, Germany – 16/2/17 Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko pose during the press conference Reuters / Ralph Orlowski Livepic –
With no question marks over his health or motivation, former champion Wladimir Klitschko has no plans to bring the curtain down on his 21-year professional career and is relishing the pressure ahead of his title fight against Briton Anthony Joshua.
Klitschko, who went unbeaten for 11 years before losing to Tyson Fury in 2015, has 64 wins against four defeats and will be hoping to seize Joshua’s IBF heavyweight crown as well as the vacant WBA and IBO titles also up for grabs.
“Hopefully, I have a couple of years left in me,” the 41-year-old Ukrainian told British media.
“I was always saying health and motivation is very important. If one of those things is missing then it doesn’t make sense to continue.”
Klitschko will face Joshua on April 29 in front of a 90,000 strong crowd at Wembley, one of the largest crowds in British boxing.
“In regards to pressure, it’s just enjoyable. Anthony Joshua is a great fighter, I’m taking on the best out there to be the best. It’s challenging… My next stage is bigger than my last,” Klitschko said.
“The attention for the previous fight was less compared with this. It is an upgrade, it is a winning upgrade. I love it.”
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
Heavyweight champion Fury ready to ‘walk away’
Tyson Fury during a press conference after the fight Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith
World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury is struggling for motivation and could quit boxing, the controversial fighter told the BBC on Thursday.
The 27-year-old Briton, who stunned Vladimir Klitschko to claim the world heavyweight crown with a points win in Germany in November, may even hang up his gloves before facing the Ukrainian in a rematch scheduled for May or June.
“I’m struggling to get motivated,” Fury told BBC radio. “I could walk away. I could just sail into the sunset unbeaten with all the belts and live a normal life.”
Fury (25-0), who drew flak for his offensive comments about women, homosexuality and abortion late last year, said he would rather spend more time with his family than chase money or try to secure a legacy.
“All that I would be boxing for is money and I always thought to myself I never want to let sport become about money, he added.”
“I’ve accomplished a dream. It’s about how much motivation I have to keep going on. There is life after boxing and I don’t know what I’m going to do at the moment. I haven’t even cemented I am going to fight in a rematch.”
Qatar and Abu Dhabi are reportedly among the five possible venues for the rematch but Fury said he had yet to start training for his next bout.
Fury previously threatened to retire after fellow Briton David Haye twice withdrew from bouts against him through injury in 2013.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O’Brien)