Tyson Fury completed the greatest comeback in modern sports history on Saturday night when he knocked out Deontay Wilder in the seventh round to add the WBC’s version of the world heavyweight championship to his own lineal claim to the title.
The Gypsy King made good on his promise to go for a knockout in the hotly anticipated rematch against a bogeyman regarded as boxing’s most dangerous puncher. He came forward from the opening bell, dropped the champion for the first time in a decade with a right hand to the temple in the third round, then again with a clubbing left to the body in the fifth.
By the sixth, Wilder was bleeding from his left ear, his legs were completely gone and he appeared unable to defend himself as Fury picked him apart. When the American’s corner threw in the towel and referee Kenny Bayless waved it off at the 1:56 mark of the seventh, it set off scenes of pandemonium at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“I hit him with a clean right that dropped him and he got back up,” said Fury, who landed 82 of 267 punches (30.7%), compared to 34 of 141 for Wilder (24.1%) according to Compubox’s punch statistics. “He is a warrior. He will be back. He will be champion again.”
The 31-year-old from Manchester has now captured WBC’s version of the long-fractured heavyweight championship after winning the WBA, WBO and IBF titles five years ago when he ended Wladimir Klitschko’s decade long reign in Düsseldorf.
Fury never lost those belts in the ring, instead surrendering them into the heavyweight ether amid a 31-month layoff, where they have since been absorbed by Britain’s Anthony Joshua. His return to the summit of boxing’s prestige division on Saturday night seemed unthinkable at rock bottom, when he ballooned to 400lbs and contemplated taking his own life.
Now a summit meeting between Fury and Joshua to unite all four titles and crown an undisputed heavyweight champion for the first time since Lennox Lewis looms as perhaps the richest fight in boxing history – that is, if Wilder doesn’t exercise his option for a immediate rematch.
More to follow…