It wasn’t a just beating. Tyson Fury dominated, dismantled, and did what nobody has ever done to Deontay Wilder.
With constant aggression and power—not to mention a 42-pound weight advantage—Fury bullied, brawled, and battered his way to become the new WBC heavyweight champion of the world, handing the previously unbeaten Wilder his first professional loss in stunning fashion.
"The king has returned to his throne," Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) roared in the ring immediately after the fight.
The eagerly anticipated rematch following the pair’s controversial first fight in 2018 that ended in a split draw did not live up to the epic hype because Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) wasn’t able to put up much of a fight against the Gypsy King who out-boxed, out-foxed, and out-powered arguably the hardest puncher in boxing history. Simply put, Fury stuck to his game-plan to go after Wilder, keep pressuring him, and use the weight differential to his advantage. Wilder, who had KOed his two previous opponents in rematches and knocked Fury down twice in their first fight, never landed any shots that appeared to hurt Fury. Meanwhile, Fury dropped Wilder twice—once in the third with a shot to the head and again in the fifth with a shot to the body. After taking a ton of punishment, referee Kenny Bayless finally stopped the fight with 1:39 left in the seventh round when Wilder’s corner said he had enough.
"I just wish my corner would've let me go out on my shield," Wilder, who did not appear at the post-fight press conference, said immediately after his loss. "I'm a warrior. That's what I do."
Wilder's co-trainer Mark Breland was the one who threw in the towel to stop the fight, but co-trainer Jay Deas said he disagreed with the action. Deas said Wilder was taken to the hospital to have a cut in his ear stitched up that threw off his equilibrium.
In front of a packed crowd of 15,816 here at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas that was raucous and rowdy, Fury, the lineal heavyweight champion, completed his improbable comeback from the depths of depression, drug use, weight gain, and irrelevancy that saw him vacate the titles he took from Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 and leave the sport for two and a half years. At 273 pounds, he became the second heaviest fighter, according to ESPN, to win a heavyweight title since 1962. Fury also ended Wilder's five-year run as the WBC champ and prevented the Bronze Bomber from defending his belt for an 11th time which would have passed Muhammad Ali's mark.
We could see a third match between the fighters since there is a rematch clause in Wilder's contract, but it's up to him to exercise his right within 30 days. Wilder could opt for another opponent and chase the belt he just lost down the road, but advisor Shelly Finkel said he expects Wilder wants a rematch. Deas said "it seems natural" Wilder would want to fight Fury again.
Saturday's pay-per-view was a unique partnership between rival broadcasters (ESPN and FOX) and promotional teams (Top Rank and PBC), but fight organizers appeared to be happy in the immediate aftermath. The event, according to Top Rank, grossed $16.9 million, the highest for a heavyweight fight in Sin City's rich boxing history.
Per the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Wilder and Fury both made $5 million, but stand to make tens of millions of dollars more based on the final pay-per-view numbers of which they get a percentage. Reportedly, the two could walk away with at least $40 million.
The biggest fight in boxing in nearly 20 years predictably attracted a litany of stars. Patrick Mahomes, Magic Johnson, Draymond Green, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence, Triple H, and Jon Gruden, were among those in the building.
Fury, who came out to the ring sitting on a throne, reveled in his incredible performance, as he should. Nobody has ever knocked around Wilder like that—the last time he hit the canvas was in his 13th professional fight in 2010—and he'll never be looked at the same after suffering such a beatdown. He weighed-in at 231 pounds, his heaviest, and appeared to lose his legs after the first knockdown. He struggled the rest of the fight to keep his balance and was helpless to avoid Fury's punishing shots. According to CompuBox, Fury out-punched Wilder 267 to 141 and landed 82 shots compared to Wilder's 34.
"A big shout out to Deontay Wilder,” Fury said. "He came here tonight and he manned up and he really did show the heart of a champion. I hit him with a clean right that dropped him and he got back up. He is a warrior. He will be back. He will be champion again."
Fury, from the UK, gained the only heavyweight title that eluded him when he briefly reigned over boxing's most glamorous and celebrated division. Before Fury—maybe the premier entertainer in sports these days thanks to his quick wit, incredible charisma, and penchant for giving his fans a show no matter what—left the ring he sang a rendition of Don McLean’s “American Pie." The new king of the heavyweight division was joined by thousands of his British supporters who made the trip over to the States and vastly outnumbered Wilder's fans.