Epic, heart-stopping five knockdown thriller ends in 11th round knockout for the Gypsy King
A twisting, turning, absorbing contest between two giants of the ring swung and hung in the balance in front of a delirious crowd of 15,820 in the T-Mobile Arena, as both men hit the canvas, Fury twice, and WIlder three times, before an uppercut, right cross combination in the 11th round left Tyson Fury as the last man standing. Deontay Wilder sent down for the last time in this fight, and referee, Russell Mora, waved off the contest to bring a thrilling trilogy to a close.
It was like all the Rocky films rolled into one as first Wilder in round 3 and then Fury, twice, in round 4, and then Wilder again in round 10 hit the deck in a heap, seemingly out on their feet, only to beat the counts and come back throwing bombs. The two heavyweight Goliaths showing heart, bravery, courage, desire, above and beyond all measure.
How Fury got up from the knockdowns in round 4 is anybody’s guess. According to the man himself, it was “determination and god’s plan.” But what a plan. The stuff of legend. Four times the ring doctor went to Deontay Wilder’s corner and asked him could he continue. Four times he was turned away. If he was going out, there would be nobody throwing in the towel this time. He was going out on his shield. His trainer, Malik Scott telling him between rounds, “You’re going to be proud of yourself tomorrow.”
There was simply no quarter expected or given from either man, just relentless heart-stopping action.
The bizarre buildup to the fight, the one-man press conferences, the glove arguments, the weigh-in fiasco, the nasty trash talk, none of it mattered anymore. Just these two superb boxers in a deciding shoot-out for boxing immortality, producing one of the greatest heavyweight contests of the last 25 years.
Indeed, right up to 1.10 seconds of round 11, the fight was an impossible-to-call classic, which remained in the balance, swinging one way then the other until Tyson Fury found the telling blows to retain his WBC heavyweight championship and The Ring magazine belts in spectacular fashion.
There was no embrace, no handshake, no acknowledgement from Wilder to Fury at the end, just crushing disappointment writ large on his face. He had given his all and more. His best could not beat Tyson Fury.
But even as he left the ring to be taken to hospital for precautionary checkups, superlatives from around the world poured in for both men in testimony to their warrior spirit.
Bob Arum said, “I’ve been in this business 57 years promoting fights and I truly have to say I have never seen a heavyweight fight as magnificent as this,” he said.
Esteemed boxing writer Steve Bunce called it this way, ” Rocky is like the Teletubbies compared to what you witnessed tonight! It was extraordinary, it was quite amazing and a privilege to watch it.”
Lennox Lewis, “What a fantastic fight. The first two fights were amazing, but this one put the cap on it.”
However, it was left to the Gypsy King, smiling broadly, arm around his trainer, Sugar hill Steward, sporting his own cap with a ‘Jesus the king is coming’ motif, to deliver the fitting eulogy for this extraordinary blockbuster of a fight.
“I know you had your hearts in your mouths. But don’t ever doubt me. When the chips are down, I always deliver. I’m the best fighter in the world, and he’s the second-best. It was a great fight, worthy of the best trilogies. “
On a thrilling night when a king was crowned and boxing was the winner, we can all say Amen to that