Words by Darius Ostovar
The eagerly anticipated third and final bout for the WBC heavyweight championship between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder produced an instant classic in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The trilogy has already been compared to previous epic heavyweight trilogies, including those between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier and even Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe.
The opening three rounds saw Wilder looking for an opening to use his explosive straight right whilst Fury sought to weather the early storm from the Bronze Bomber. He did so effectively as he knocked Wilder down with a right hook to the temple towards the end of the third round.
Wilder’s lack of technical ability became transparent in the fourth as he abandoned his use of the jab, going gung-ho with a series of right-hand haymakers. However, Fury’s desire for the KO left him exposed as Wilder capitalised with a swift straight-right that sent The Gypsy King to the canvas with a minute left in the round. Despite Fury’s attempt to fend off Wilder, he was knocked down again in the final seconds of the round.
With the two knockdowns in round four, Wilder was leading 56-55 on all three judges scorecards by the halfway point.
However, Fury exhibited his excellent technical ability for the rest of the fight as he knocked Wilder to the canvas in round 10. Wilder showed incredible heart to get back to his feet despite the clear indicators of fatigue setting in. Yet it wasn’t enough as The Gypsy King threw a magnificent right hook in the eleventh round forcing referee Russel Mora to wave off the fight.
The KO victory has silenced any doubts about Fury’s superior ability over Wilder as the previous fights ended in a highly controversial split draw, with many commentators believing Fury deserved the victory, and a flawless TKO win for Fury in the second fight.
The attention now turns to who Fury’s next opponent may be. Many British boxing fans have been restlessly waiting for the Fury and Anthony Joshua showdown. A bout that would easily go down as the biggest British heavyweight battle since Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno in 1993. Yet the match up has now been thrown into doubt with Oleksandr Usyk’s phenomenal unanimous decision victory over Joshua back in September.
With talks over a possible Joshua vs Usyk rematch, it might be some time before the showdown takes place. However, Fury has proclaimed that he is the “greatest heavyweight” of his era and his unbeaten record is certainly proof of that. But there’s no doubt he would need to claim WBO, IBF, WBA and IBO belts from either Usyk or Joshua in order to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis 21 years ago.
Until then, Fury should be applauded for his outstanding spirit to become a world champion once again after battling substance abuse and issues surrounding his mental health following his victory over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.