On Saturday night, December 1st, the sport of boxing was witness to quite a treat, as WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury fought to a split-decision draw on SHOWTIME pay per view. The Wilder vs. Fury fight took place from the Staples Center in Los Angeles and didn’t disappoint in terms of high-level skill from Fury, or a relentless attack from Wilder that produced two knockdowns. It was without question one of the best heavyweight title fights in recent years.
After seizing the opportunity and taking control of the early parts of the fight, Fury (27-0-1, 19 KO’s) amazingly overcame two knockdowns by Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KO’s), including an explosive one in round 12 that looked to have finished him. Somehow, Fury miraculously rose to his feet just before the count of 10 and was able to finish the fight on his two feet. And while many had the British lineal champion winning champion, scorecards reading 115-111 Wilder, 114-110 Fury, and 113-113 saw this matchup end in a split-draw.
Wilder was criticized online for not having a game plan or showing much skill, but there’s no denying the drama he delivered.
“I think with the two knockdowns I definitely won the fight,” said Wilder, who was making the eighth defense of his title. “We poured our hearts out tonight. We’re both warriors, but with those two drops I think I won the fight.”
Fury of course has a much different view of what went down.
“We’re on away soil, I got knocked down twice, but I still believe I won that fight,” said England’s Fury. “I hope I did you all proud after nearly three years out of the ring. I was never going to be knocked down tonight. I showed good heart to get up. I came here tonight and I fought my heart out.”
There was a crowd of reportedly 17,698 fans, which included the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, The Game, prospect Devin Haney, Errol Spence Jr., Jerry West, NFL Hall of Famers Michael Strahan and Michael Irvin, and boxing legends Evander Holyfield and Floyd Mayweather.
Calling the action from ringside, SHOWTIME boxing analyst Al Bernstein shared his thoughts on the fight.
“Boxing is always the theatre of the unexpected, and that’s what we had tonight,” Bernstein said.
Bernstein also said that seeing Fury get up and continue to fight after the brutal knockdown was “one of the most astonishing things I’ve ever seen in the boxing ring.”
SHOWTIME boxing historian and commentator Steve Farhood had Fury sweeping rounds three through eight, and ultimately tipped the match in his favor, 115-111.
What about a rematch though?
“I would love for it to be my next fight,” Wilder said. “Why not? Let’s give the fans what they want to see. It was a great fight and let’s do it again. It doesn’t matter to me where we do it.”
Fury is equally on board.
“One hundred percent we’ll do the rematch,” said Fury. “We are two great champions. Me and this man are the two best heavyweights on the planet.”
Is that true? Perhaps IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will disagree but there’s no denying that both Wilder and Fury delivered in dramatically different ways on Saturday.
We learned that Wilder, for all his talk of power, has a champion’s heart and will never stop pressing, even until the final bell. But perhaps now it’s time for him to polish up his boxing skills a bit if a rematch does come off.
And with Fury, we saw a fighter, who was out of the ring for over two-and-a-half years due to mental illness and other issues, return with the skill and ability that is needed at the highest level.
The night belonged to both of these men on Saturday.