Tyson Fury does not know who he will fight next and instead plans to bask in his status as “the big dog in the division” after an 11th-round knockout of Deontay Wilder.
Fury recovered from having twice been knocked down himself in a heavyweight bout that has already been described as one of the greatest in history.
The contest was the third time the two men have met in the past three years. The first bout, in December 2018, was a controversial draw, with Fury winning the rematch in February 2020 and this week’s classic. The result means Fury retains the WBC belt and his status as the lineal heavyweight champion.
Speaking after the fight in Las Vegas, Fury said it proved his standing in the heavyweight division. “I am the greatest heavyweight champion of my era, without a doubt. Number one. If you play with fire long enough you will get burned,” he said.
“It was a great fight. I will not make any excuses, Wilder is a top fighter, he gave me a run for my money. I always say I am the best fighter in the world and he is the second best. Don’t ever doubt me. When the chips are down I can always deliver.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Fury added: “There were some shaky moments in there but I never lost faith. I continued on and persevered and got that single-punch knock out. As soon as I landed it I jumped on the ropes. I knew he was not getting back up from that.
“It was a great trilogy and you need a good dance partner for trilogies and he has been a good dance partner but there is no rematch clause, it is done. Wilder is done. There is no more Deontay Wilder.”
Fury’s next opponent is unclear. A potential bout against Anthony Joshua has lost much of its appeal after Joshua recently lost his three belts to Oleksander Usyk, whom he will face in a rematch probably early in 2022. The winner of that match-up could face a unification bout against Fury but in the meantime Dillian Whyte, another Briton, is the second top boxer in the WBC rankings and is the most likely next opponent.
“Before I start thinking about fighting other men I will bask in this victory,” Fury said. “This was one of my greatest wins. I got off the floor to do it. I am the big dog in the division.”
Fury attempted to reconcile with Wilder in the ring immediately after the fight but the American left the arena without speaking to his opponent and was later taken to a Las Vegas hospital. Wilder admitted that he “wasn’t good enough” to beat Fury, who weighed in 39lbs heavier.
“I’m not sure what happened,” Wilder said. “I know that in training he did certain things, and I also knew that he didn’t come in at 277lbs to be a ballet dancer. He came to lean on me, try to rough me up and he succeeded.”
Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder, as it happened
Heading in opposite directions?
Oliver Brown here writes on the divergent fortunes of the two men who, until very recently, were vying for the title of the best British heavyweight. While Tyson Fury now bestrides the sport like a colossus, with only his ambition to limit him, AJ faces a difficult rematch against a tough opponent and has no guarantees at all of getting back to the top table.
Reuters is reporting that Wilder had to go to hospital after fight. Unclear if precaution etc.
What next – and why?
Why isn’t Tyson Fury fighting Anthony Joshua?
After his defeat to Usyk, Joshua hinted he would trigger a rematch clash in his contract and his promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed it had been activated.
Hearn said on DAZN on Saturday night: “He’s got his head back in the game, he’s training now and today we officially triggered the rematch for the Oleksandr Usyk fight which we’ll see early next spring.
“Back in the game and looking for him to become a three-time heavyweight world champion.
“That’s officially triggered now and we’ll sit down with K2 [Usyk’s promoters] to plan the dates for that. I think realistically March is when you’re likely to see the rematch.”
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) October 10, 2021
Tyson Fury remains undefeated and bookies make him odds on to beat Oleksandr Usyk at 8-11 if the pair meet.
Usyk is odds on, at 1-2, to win his rematch against Anthony Joshua.
Coral’s odds on a future Fury vs Joshua bout make the former the favourite at 2-5, with Joshua 2-1 to beat his compatriot.
1-2 Usyk vs 13-8 Joshua
8-11 Fury vs 6-5 Usyk
2-5 Fury vs 2-1 Joshua
4-9 Joshua vs 7-4 Whyte
1-6 Fury vs 4-1 Whyte
The Rock seal of approval
Some choice cuts in this Fury press conference
The fight in pictures
Here’s Deontay! He took his sweet time emerging from the dressing room, perhaps a mind game. At least he wasn’t weighed down by his mad Monty Python knight outfit this time.
For those about to get punched in the face a lot, we salute you. No Patsy C this time for Tyson; he came out to the more Vegas friendly AC/DC.
Wilder made a decent start but Fury was generally able to stay out of range of his fearsome right. Wilder had some early success trying to jab to the body and then hit the overhand right, but Fury soon worked him out.
Fury was starting to look comfortable, making Wilder miss, but then decided to go on the offensive, rather than stick with the winning formula. In a sensational fourth round, Wilder knocked him down twice. It was war.
As the classic wore on, Tyson was able to stay more or less out of range and Wilder began to tire. Despite showing tremendous heart, and always carrying a threat, Fury’s superior skill, range and size proved too much for Deontay. Wilder’s punches missed more and more and when they did land, the power wasn’t quite there.
Dangerous from range, and brutal with his short punches on the inside, Fury began to punish Wilder again and again. But the American, who needed looked at by the doctor at the start of round nine, demonstrated the heart of a lion to keep going. For all that, Wilder looked to have only one trick: the big right. It felt that as long as Fury could keep away, he would win sooner or later.
And then in the 11th round he found the punch that ended it, a crunching right to the temple that knocked Wilder out and sent him to the canvas.
Tyson on the future
“Before I start thinking about fighting other men I am going to bask in this. I am the big dog in the division.”
“Rarely do we see trilogy fights in the heavyweight division, I think the last was Bowe and Holyfield. They were great fights. Me and Wilder is done for good. Both fighters had their opportunities to seize the moment. It came down to who wanted it more, who is willing to push further, I was not willing to let it go to the scorecards.”
“He took a lot of punishment, Deontay Wilder. And so did I. It puts a lot of mileage on the clock. He gave me a worthy challenge.”
Would a different corner have helped Deontay?
With Anthony Joshua having asked for the rematch that is his right against Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, it is not immediately clear who Fury fights now that could give him a fight.
Tactically, technically it is very hard to see AJ getting any change out of Fury. Usyk would surely be at such a physical disadvantage.
Dillian Whyte is the most likely next opponent. Whyte faces Otto Wallin for the WBC heavyweight title and the winner gets Fury.
“It was a great fight tonight, it was worthy of any trilogy in the history of the sport,” Fury said.
“Deontay Wilder’s a top fighter, he gave me a real run for my money. I always said I’m the best in the world and he’s second best.”
“At the end I went over to him and just said well done. He said I don’t want to show any sportsmanship or respect. I said no problem. I was very surprised: a sore loser, an idiot.”