Thrilling Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder Bout Ends in Controversial Draw
By Godfrey Falcon: In what was perhaps the most exciting fight of the year, Tyson “Gypsy King” Fury (27-0-1) of the United Kingdom and Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (40-0-1) fought to a thrilling yet controversial Split Draw on December 1, 2018 in Wilder’s backyard of Los Angeles, CA. One judge had it 114-112 for Fury, another 113-113 even, and the third had it suspiciously wide for Wilder at 115 to 112.
High drama abounded, as the betting favorite Wilder was largely neutralized in the majority of the rounds by the surprisingly agile, 6’9″ Fury. One of the major factors in Wilder being the betting favorite was Fury blowing up to over 400 lbs following his shocking upset against boxing legend Wladimir Klitschko (65-5) who was on a 22 fight win streak, and seriously letting himself go mentally, suffering suicidal thoughts. Of Wilder’s 40 victories, 39 of them came within the distance, and despite being out of the ring for nearly three years before coming back in June of this year, on top of a myriad of personal problems including drug abuse and depression, Fury denied the most dangerous man in boxing not only the knockout, but also the win. And that is only the undisputed official truth.
Unofficially, many at ringside, including professional boxing commentator and former professional fighter Paulie Malignaggi, former champions Lennox Lewis and Andre Ward, as well as multitudes of fans were convinced that Fury had outboxed and solved the problem that was the monster heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Indeed, Fury controlled large swaths of rounds, and it was difficult to give Wilder more than two of those rounds, including the knockdown rounds. The first knockdown occurred in the 9th, and was more of a grazing blow on top of the head. Fury wasn’t hurt, and proceeded to box circles around Wilder, who starting from the 6th round was looking particularly drained from missing constantly with his power punches. In the 12th and final round, it appeared that Wilder had caught lightning in a bottle, and landed a hard two punch combination that seemingly knocked Fury out cold.
Fury lied motionless for a few seconds as the referee counted, and to the shock of all, got up and convinced the referee that he was fine. A celebrating Wilder, brimming with confidence following his massive combination, looked like he had seen a ghost, and his mental demeanor was one of horror rather than killer instinct. An argument that Fury was given extra seconds to walk around can be negated with the referee Jack Reiss, probably not believing his eyes either, wanted the fighter to confirm with him that he was alright. Nobody else has gotten up like he has and wanted to fight. Fury is a monster.
Wilder failed to put Fury away in the closing seconds, and the resurrected Fury landed hard power punches that rocked the champion, who held on to his corners’ frustration, urging their man to finish the fight and go all in for the kill.
Wilder is a great fighter, no doubt, with perhaps the most powerful straight right in boxing today. But the blueprint for giving him problems, denying him victory, and arguably defeating him have been laid by Fury, who was underestimated by many, including myself. As an American, and though of little importance an American of color, I was rooting for Wilder, but that hope dwindled into the later rounds, as Wilder missed punch after punch, telegraphic them so predictably for the undefeated Brit. Credit to Fury, it wasn’t Wilder’s incompetence necessarily, but Fury’s reflexes and near tirelessness that prevented him from being clipped by those monstrous blows. And while Tyson Fury is a freak of nature, and not anyone can emulate his physique or unorthodox style, his jab and movement were weapon that all future Wilder opponents should pay close attention to.
Wilder too showed heart however, in finishing only his second 12 round match, despite being clearly fatigued, and with his face visible marked up by eating repeated jabs. He gets to retain his belts and live on to fight another day. A rematch is the obvious answer to this controversy, though not perhaps a satisfiable one. Despite the controversy surrounding the decision, both fighters were professional and gained a new respect for one another: Fury respecting Wilder’s determination and power having been floored a couple of times, and Wilder respecting Fury at giving him a boxing lesson and being the only man to not only survive a knockout punch, but fight back with ferocity. But for the tried and true boxing aficionados out there still upset over the decision, you can at least take solace in the fact that while Tyson “Gypsy King” Fury was robbed of a victory, he stands undefeated, even in the face of the Deontae “Bronze Bomber” Wilder.