Fury-ious fin­ish sets up Wilder re­match

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Front Page - AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

LOS AN­GE­LES — Chal­lenger Tyson Fury dom­i­nated long stretches of Satur­day’s WBC heavy­weight ti­tle bout against Deon­tay Wilder, thanks to a sneaky jab and shifty de­fense.

But in the 12th and fi­nal round, Fury ended up flat on the can­vas, his eyes rolling back­ward while Wilder cel­e­brated above him.

The 6-foot-9 English­man some­how gath­ered his wits, rose and made it to the fi­nal bell. That’s when both hulk­ing men heard a ver­dict that didn’t sat­isfy them, but all but guar­an­teed a re­match.

Wilder, from Al­abama, re­tained his ti­tle when the bout was de­clared a split draw. One judge fa­vored Wilder 115-111, one had Fury win­ning 114-112 and the third called it a 113-113 draw.

“One hun­dred per­cent we’ll do the re­match,” Fury said. “We are two great cham­pi­ons. Me and this man are the two best heavy­weights on the planet.”

The 6-foot-7 Wilder (40-0-1) floored Fury (27-0-1) in rounds 9 and 12, but the chal­lenger clearly out­boxed him over the first half of the fight at Sta­ples Cen­ter.

Fury appeared to be on his way to a de­ci­sion vic­tory when he came out for the fi­nal round — but 50 sec­onds later he looked to­tally fin­ished when Wilder put him on his back af­ter land­ing a bru­tal right-left com­bi­na­tion.

“I hope I did you all proud af­ter nearly three years out of the ring,” Fury said.

“I was never go­ing to be knocked out tonight. I showed good heart to get up. I came here tonight and I fought my heart out.”

While Wilder kept his belt, Fury re­mains the un­of­fi­cial lin­eal heavy­weight cham­pion by virtue of his vic­tory over Wladimir Kl­itschko in Novem­ber 2015.

“We gave each other all we’ve got,” Wilder said. “We’re the best in the world. The re­spect was mu­tual.”

While both men thought they won, nei­ther was overly up­set by the ver­dict in front of a fren­zied Hol­ly­wood crowd. They em­braced warmly and im­me­di­ately talked about a spring re­match.

“When you get two war­riors, you get a great fight,” Wilder said. “That’s what we proved tonight, and I’m ready to do it again.”

The bout was a rare meet­ing of two un­beaten heavy­weight stars in their ap­par­ent primes, with both fight­ers putting aside cau­tion and the typ­i­cal squab­bles over money or belts to stage one of the most com­pelling matchups in the glamor di­vi­sion’s re­cent his­tory.

With just over two min­utes left in the fight, Wilder buck­led Fury’s knees with a right hand and knocked him sense­less with a per­fect left on the way down.

Even though Wilder made a throat-slash­ing ges­ture and mouthed “It’s over,” Fury beat the count and went back to work.

Wilder failed to win for the first time since his semi­fi­nal bout at the 2008 Bei­jing Olympics, and he failed to knock out his op­po­nent for only the sec­ond time in 41 pro­fes­sional bouts.

“I came out slow. I rushed my punches. I was too hes­i­tant,” he said. “I started over­throw­ing the right hand, and I just couldn’t ad­just.”

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