Left jabs following a big right hook, bodywork and evasive footwork, this heavyweight showdown from two of the category’s finest fighters is the perfect bout to wrap up an incredible year.
“Only God knows how he [Fury] got back up” was Deontay Wilder’s blunt admission at the post-game press conference. Wilder is not the only one who is taken aback, everyone who saw Tyson Fury hit the canvas like a shedding glacier after a deadly combination that is usually only perfected on video games must have thought there was no way in hell the ‘Gypsy King’ will recover from that. It is Deontay Wilder, it’s the power punch. There’s a reason he has knocked out every man he has ever faced in his illustrious career, and it’s because they never get back up, except Tyson Fury.
Wilder thought he had won, surely now it’s over. A second knockdown in a round, the second one even better than the first; he must have lost some adrenaline, and that’s all Fury needed to end that round on top. Fury only just returned to the sport after nearly 30 months out, yet he went the distance against the WBC champion in the US – foreign soil.
Most expected this bout to end in one of two ways: a Wilder knock out or Fury securing a win in unanimous decision. In the end, neither happened. Although, one of it could have happened. Fury was definitely leading by all accounts until that round and those knockdowns, and should he have avoided them, he could have won it. I honestly thought he did, and so did many others too.
Fury, unsurprisingly, suggested Wilder benefited from friendly judging in his home country. “We’re on away soil,” Fury said. “I got knocked down twice, but I still believe I won that fight.” Could the fact he was on foreign soil have played a huge part in the eventual decision of the judges? It is, sadly, commonplace in boxing.
Wilder, on the other hand, admitted again that he lost his head – not literally. He admitted deviating from the game plan which was to work the body until the head opens up, instead he chased a knockout from start to end, and he could have gotten it. He almost did.
This bout lived up to the hype, thanks again to the same man who delivered the heavyweight category from the claws of a dominant Vladimir Klitschko. Fury has never been afraid to fight anyone anywhere, and both men must have unreserved respect for each other after this.
The next big question, will Anthony Joshua take on either Wilder or Fury next year?
Frankly, I’ll be surprised if that fight happens next year. Joshua is the undisputed champion, and admittedly a potential fight will generate more money than anyone he fights next apart from these two. But it will be a huge surprise should Eddie Hearn and Joshua accept this challenge so soon. Possibly in another year, the fight will happen, but there’s no point taking on a challenge you can’t be absolutely sure of winning and until Anthony Joshua feels that confident about this bout, it may not happen.
So, maybe we will get a rematch. And in all honesty, the chance of getting a rematch is more probable than any thought of Joshua taking on either man next year. For now, we return to status quo.