Tyson Fury is right to argue that he is up there with the best heavyweight boxers ever after finally vanquishing Deontay Wilder.
When Tyson Fury finally landed the decisive blow on Deontay Wilder’s temple that saw him crumple to the floor and led to the referee signalling for the bell in the 11th round, the result of the match was already a foregone conclusion.
Fury had grown in in confidence as the bout wore on, picking his moments to strike with accuracy. Wilder, meanwhile, was fighting on through willpower alone.
His legs were wobbly as he continued to throw haymakers, looking to land his mean right hook. His eye was getting more and more swollen. And blood was trickling from his right ear, where Fury had landed a well-placed jab.
Wilder’s best moment came in the fourth round, when he sent Fury to the floor not once but twice. But instead of that being a turning point, it merely proved a speedbump for the Gypsy King.
And in the end of a heavyweight boxing bout for the ages, it was Fury who stood with his arms held aloft. No one could argue he didn’t deserve it; he had out-thought, out-paced and decisively out-boxed his American opponent.
It was a fitting end to a trilogy that absolutely lived up to its billing. Boxing promoters are known to put a spin on things in an attempt to drive up TV viewership, PPV buy-rates and even gate receipts. But anyone who sat through Fury vs Wilder 3 got their money’s worth – and then some.
That being said, fans were unsure what to expect from the fight. Neither fighter had fought since their second bout of the trilogy, which saw Fury pick up a convincing win over Wilder.
Based on that result, Fury came into the bout as the favourite – a stark contrast from the first fight, which saw many expecting Wilder to pick up the win.
However, there were other complications for Fury to overcome – the first of which involved taking this fight in the first place.
It’s funny to look back at this in retrospect, but when the trilogy bout was first announced, the news went over like a lead balloon. This is because fans were eagerly anticipating the all-British bout between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.
The fight was agreed and signed on, before Wilder got a court ruling saying that the trilogy bout had to happen before any match against Joshua could take place.
However, once those plans changed, there was yet another complication – a COVID-19 outbreak in Fury’s camp that took down even the Gypsy King.
He recovered in time but few can predict the long-term after-effects of the virus. Luckily for Fury, he seemed uninhibited in his fight against Wilder.
The second bout saw Fury take on a different approach, as he was aggressive from the get-go and pushed Wilder on the back-foot. He employed a similar strategy here, although unlike the last fight, he didn’t look for an early KO.
This time, he appeared content to wait for the right moment to land the big punches. In the meanwhile, he was content to trash-talk while ducking and weaving Wilder.
Such a strategy can backfire, especially against someone like Wilder, whose KO game is the stuff of legends. But over the first three rounds, it was Fury who had the upper hand. That all almost changed, however, in the fourth round.
Wilder managed to knock Fury over not once, but twice. It was the first time in his career he had been floored twice in the same round; for a while, he did look close to tasting the first pro defeat of his career.
But one of the remarkable things about Fury is not only his capacity to take a beating, but also to not let his mind get cluttered. His thinking, as he explained afterwards, was simple even after being knocked over twice.
“You go swimming and you’re going to get wet. You mess with fire long enough, you’ll get burnt. I’ve had three fights with the biggest puncher in the history of my sport, in my division. And he caught me.
“He caught me twice in the fourth round. But I was never thinking, ‘Oh, this is over.’ I was thinking, ‘OK, good shot, but I will get you back in a minute.’ And I did.”
Tyson Fury did indeed get back into the fight after that. He was helped out by trainer Sugarhill Steward who, at the end of the seventh round, implored him to use the jab. Once he did, he had Wilder on the ropes.
The American had previously been using quick jabs to Fury’s body to great effect. However, once he got knocked over, he abandoned that and relied almost solely on his right hand.
Given Wilder’s ability to end fights with his right, it was a good strategy in theory. There was just one small problem with it: Fury’s all-round strategy proved too much to handle.
That being said, the British heavyweight knew he had to give it his all to win the bout. After he won, he sunk onto the ropes, his hand folded in prayer and tears rolling down his eyes.
It was a touching image, especially if one remembers what Fury had to overcome to get here. But his defiance and confidence shone through afterwards.
“I’m the greatest heavyweight of my era, without a doubt. I believe that I could beat anyone in history. Any man born, I believe I’ve got a really good chance of beating him.”
It’s hard to argue with his assessment.