Leading up to Saturday’s title fight, both Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury had something to prove. Fury was the former champ who believed he was being counted out by fans and boxing experts. Wilder was the reigning champ who believes he does not get the respect he deserves from fans and the boxing media. Both men put on one of the more competitive and entertaining heavyweight title fights in recent years (arguably second only to Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko’s fight from 2 years ago).
The former unified and last lineal heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury demonstrated that he still possessed the skills which saw him dethrone Wladimir Klitschko, as he controlled large portions of the fight with his jab, combinations, and foot work. Deontay Wilder tried to match Fury’s boxing ability and again showed that he possesses the biggest punch in the heavyweight division. Although cognizant of Wilder’s vaunted right hand and working to neutralize it for most of the fight Fury still was caught twice, getting knocked down in the 9th round and nearly knocked out in the 12th (it can be argued that Fury benefitted from a long count in the second knockdown). Both fighters demonstrated that they are two of the three best in the division.
The official scores were 115-111 Wilder, 114-110 Fury, and 113-113 even. The draw sets up a potential rematch in 2019, with the winner in position to face unified champion Anthony Joshua. Although Deontay Wilder may still be searching for the respect he believes he deserves as champion, with the draw he successfully defended his WBC heavyweight title for the 8th time. Wilder continues to be the longest reigning American heavyweight champion since Mike Tyson was undisputed king in the late 1980s.