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Deontay Wilder just simply wouldn’t go away. Not after a third-round knockdown. Not as Tyson Fury battered him around the ring, round after round.
But Fury wore down the challenger, scoring another knockdown in Round 10 before brutally finishing Wilder with a highlight-reel knockout in the 11th on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena to keep his WBC heavyweight title in one of the most action-packed title fights of all time.
The fight featured five combined knockdowns, with Wilder going down three times and Fury going down twice, both in Round 4.
Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) was ahead on all three scorecards when the fight was stopped: 95-92, 94-92 and 95-91. ESPN scored it 96-89.
“It was a great fight tonight,” said Fury, 33. “It was worthy of any trilogy in the history of the sport. Wilder’s a tough fighter. … I always said I’m the best in the world and he’s second-best.”
Regardless of where Wilder, 35, is ranked after a second straight loss to Fury, his heart can never be questioned.
He fired assistant trainer Mark Breland for throwing in the towel in the seventh round of his February 2020 rematch with Fury, saying he can never be counted out of a fight due to his tremendous power and that he always wants “to go out on his shield.”
Indeed, Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) survived a third-round knockdown Saturday night and was on unsteady legs when he connected with that patented right hand in Round 4 to send Fury to the mat. And then Wilder knocked Fury down again moments later. This time, it was Fury on shaky ground at the end of the round.
“He caught me twice in the fourth round, but I was never thinking, ‘Oh, this is over,'” Fury said. “He shook me, put me down, but that’s boxing, and that’s life as well. It’s not how many times you get knocked down. You’ve got to keep fighting and keep moving forward.”
By the seventh round, Wilder was absorbing a beating. He seemed ready to go at any moment as Fury drilled him with haymaker after haymaker. At several moments, referee Russell Mora appeared close to stepping in to halt the fight, but he never did. Wilder usually threw a punch at just the right time to show he was still ready to go.
“The Gypsy King” never got reckless, surely leery of Wilder’s dangerous right hand, but he continued to dole out punishment. When Wilder threw punches, he almost fell over numerous times from the exhaustion and pain. And then Fury dropped Wilder again in the 10th. And again, Wilder rose to beat the count.
But finally — mercifully — in Round 11, Fury landed the fight-ending shot, a devastating right hand that instantly dropped Wilder in a heap. Mora didn’t bother to count; there was no need. The fight was over at 1:10 of Round 11, ending a trilogy featuring 30 total rounds.
“I haven’t seen the actual knockout tonight, but I felt it,” Fury stated. “I hit him with a solid, crunching right hook to the temple, and shots like that, they end careers. He definitely took some punishment, so we’ll see what he can do in the future.”
Fury stated he attempted to speak with Wilder in the ring afterward but said Wilder declined.
“I’m a sportsman,” Fury said. “I went over to show some love and respect, and he didn’t want to show it back. So I pray for him.”
The change in corner didn’t alter the result. Fury remains the ruler of the heavyweight division. As he prepared to depart the ring Saturday, he grabbed the microphone and delivered one more performance, a rendition of “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn with Vegas inserted in the place of the Tennessee city. And with that, Fury left the ring, still the champion of the world, still the baddest man on the planet — and presumably, with his trilogy with Wilder finished once and for all.