Tyson Fury is a heavyweight champion once again, dominating Deontay Wilder in their title rematch Saturday night before Wilder’s corner threw in the towel in the seventh round.
A boxer in their first fight, Fury went on the attack in the rematch and knocked Wilder down twice before a flurry of punches in the seventh prompted his corner to call an end to the highly anticipated rematch.
“The king has returned to his throne,” proclaimed Fury, whose previous reign as champion was cut short by drugs and alcohol.
Fury dropped Wilder in the third round with a right hand that seemed to take the legs out of the champion. He put him down again in the fifth round, this time with a left hand to the body.
The end came at 1:39 of the seventh round when referee Kenny Bayless stopped the fight after Wilder’s corner threw in the towel as he was getting pummeled in a neutral corner. Blood was pouring out of Wilder’s ear for several rounds and, in a bizarre scene, Fury appeared to lick drops of it from Wilder’s shoulder in the sixth round.
After the fight ended, Fury took the microphone in the ring and tried to get the crowd to sing along to “American Pie” with him.
It was the first loss for Wilder in 44 fights, and it came in the 11th defense of the title he won in 2015.
“Even the greatest have lost and come back,” Wilder said. “I make no excuses. This is what big-time boxing is all about.”
Fury stalked Wilder almost from the opening bell, using his jab to control the early rounds. He won every round on the scorecard of the Associated Press and was in total command of the fight when it ended.
Wilder briefly protested the stoppage, as a pro-Fury crowd at the MGM Grand hotel roared in delight.
“I wish my corner would have let me go out on my shield,” Wilder said. “He did what he did. There’s no excuses.”
Wilder, who at 6-foot-7 and 231 pounds was the smaller man in the ring to the 6-foot-9 British giant, was backpedaling the entire fight, trying to catch Fury coming in with a right hand. But he was never able to throw it effectively, and unable to deal with Fury’s jab either.
Two judges had Fury winning every round, while the third gave Wilder one round. Fury had a point deducted for grabbing and pushing in the fifth round.
“He manned up and he really did show the heart of a champion,” Fury said. “He’s a warrior, he will be back, he will be a champion again. But the king has returned.”
Fury had bulked up to 273 pounds for the rematch, vowing to change tactics and become the big puncher. He was true to his word, dominating early with a jab that stopped Wilder in his tracks and then landing combinations to the head and body.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO) came into the ring carried aloft on a throne with a crown on his head. Then he showed he was really the Gypsy King as he made it an easy night against a fighter who had gone 12 years without losing as a pro.
For Wilder it was a stunning end to an unbeaten mark that had seen him knock out 41 of his previous 43 opponents. But his devastating right hand was never a factor, and Fury seemed to walk through it. That was unlike the first fight 14 months ago when Wilder knocked Fury down twice on his way to a draw.
The rematch drew a sellout crowd of 15,816 that set a record of more than $17 million for the live gate and was expected to do well on pay-per-view. Both fighters were guaranteed $5 million but could make $40 million apiece. It was the highest grossing live gate in Nevada history for a heavyweight fight.