All square! Champ Wilder and plucky Fury scored a draw in heavyweight title fight (PHOTOS)
After 12 pulsating rounds, the judges scored the matchup 115-111 to Wilder, another 114-112 to Englishman Fury, and the third British judge scoring 113-113 in LA's Staples Center.
The fight followed the expected script of Fury, returning to the ring a little over three years since he defeated Wladimir Klitschko to win the lineal heavyweight championship, holding a high guard and staying mobile, with Wilder aiming to hone in a concussive right hand that had seen him knockout 39 of 40 opponents up until Fury.
At the end of the second round, Wilder landed with a hammer one-two, the most notable combination of the fight up until that point, which Fury brushed off with familiar contempt, raising his arms in the air and mocking the champion with a leg shuffle.
Entering the third saw slight boos from the crowd due to lack of engagement between the pair as Fury insisted on keeping coy and Wilder marched forward looking for an opening, tagging the former champ as the bell sounded 10 seconds to go in the round.
By the fourth round, Wilder began to detonate his feared right hand, to limited success, with Fury dipping just slightly out of range every time the American loaded up. The sixth round warning from the referee in the sixth round for both to show more urgency.
In the seventh Wilder seemed to sense his tactics were paying dividends, as the 30-year-old Fury’s footwork began to slow, and with every step, Wilder would gain estate. But a huge straight right from Fury gave the champion something to think about, and was perhaps the Englishman’s best punch at that point.
In the ninth, Wilder found success when he walked the challenger down, landing with a right that put Fury on the backseat of his pants. When Fury rose at a count of eight, Wilder went after his man, but Fury fired back in defiance, trading with his man, even raising his arms int he air and goading the American, who scored a valuable 10-8 round.
Replays showed Fury may have been slightly off balance when he shipped the punch that floored him, which landed on the back of his shaven head.
In the tenth, Fury found much more success with his pinpoint one-two, penetrating the guard of the spindly Wilder. At the end of the round, and following Wilder’s usual late flurry, the two became entangled, Fury taking the chance to mock his man with severely strange tongue movements.
Going into the championship rounds, Fury’s sharp head movement showed no signs of waning, making the champion miss with wild windmills, although he did connect with a huge body shot, that Fury took in his stride.
In the final round, Wilder again dropped Fury within the first minute with a devastating one-two, the contender laying flat out and looking as though he had been knocked spark out, but the rising and brushing off the punch with usual bravado.
When the bell sounded, Fury ran to the ring corner, almost falling over, to salute the crowd and cheer. After a few seconds he then approached the champion and shared an embrace with Wilder, which melted the hearts of the watching millions.
At the end of the fight, Fury paid tribute to Wilder, whom he called the "second best heavyweight in the world" after himself, and expressing relative delight at his achievement of managing a draw on foreign soil in spite of the two knockdowns.
The Manchester man then turned his attention to fellow Brit Anthony Joshua, calling him a "chicken" before ending his post-fight interview by shouting "God bless America".
Wilder, having successfully defended his title, said he hoped for a rematch, either in the UK or US, and also extended the same gratitude to Fury for a fight that will surely live long in the memory.
Some critics called the fight a robbery, believing it denied Fury one of the greatest ring comeback wins, having overcome battles against drink, drugs and depression following his win over Klitschko.
Top fight ruined by judges yet again. I don't care what anyone thinks! Tyson Fury won that fight. #FuryWilder— Boxing Register (@BoxingRegister) December 2, 2018