Tyson Fury Stops Deontay Wilder in Seven Rounds to Claim WBC Heavyweight Title

Tyson Fury ended Deontay Wilder's five-year reign as the undefeated WBC heavyweight champion of the world with a devastating performance on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Fifteen months after their split draw in Los Angeles, the Briton kept his word and attacked Wilder relentlessly in search of the knockout he had promised. When the American's corner threw in the towel at the 1:39 mark in the seventh round, Fury became the first man to defeat Wilder in the Bronze Bomber's 44th fight.

In their first fight in December 2018, Wilder had dropped Fury twice in the 9th and 12th rounds, only for the Gypsy King to recover on both occasions.

But those roles were reversed in Vegas.

In the third round, the Briton became the first man in a decade to send the American to the canvas after delivering a smashing right hand to the temple. Wilder had last been knocked down by Harold Sconiers nearly a decade and some 30 fights ago.

At the time, the Alabama native rallied back to knockout Sconiers in four rounds, but that was not repeated at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday.

Before 15,816 spectators, Fury came forward again, flooring Wilder in the fifth round with a clubbing blow to the body and then continuing his assault in the following round. With Wilder unsteady on his legs and bleeding from his left ear, Fury picked off the American—who was making his 11th defense—at will.

The Bronze Bomber was rightly heralded as the most devastating puncher in the world ahead of the fight, but never managed to connect with his fabled right hander.

In the lead-up to the rematch, many experts had questioned the wisdom of Fury's decision to go for a knockout, suggesting he would leave himself open to be floored. The concerns proved to be unfounded. According to Compubox's punch statistics, the Briton landed 30.7 percent of his 267 punches, while only 24.1 percent of Wilder's 141 punches found their target.

Fury, who packed on muscle during an intense training regime and tipped the scale at 273 pounds at Friday's weigh-in compared to Wilder's career-high of 231 pounds, secured a magnanimous in victory.

"I hit him with a clean right that dropped him and he got back up," he said. "He is a warrior. He will be back. He will be champion again."

Wilder, meanwhile, was philosophical as he accepted the defeat.

"Even the greatest have lost and came back. That is just part of it," he said. "You just take it for what it is. I can make no excuses tonight. I had a lot of complications. But we'll come back stronger next time around."

In October 2015, Fury took the WBA, IBO, IBF, and WBO belts from Wladimir Klitschko after defeating the Ukrainian, only to vacate the titles during a 31-month layoff from boxing during which he battled depression.

The belts have since been taken by Britain's Anthony Joshua. With Fury now holding the WBC title, a showdown to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in two decades may finally be in the making.

Boxing's showpiece division has not had an undisputed champion in two decades, since Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield in a rematch by unanimous decision. A fight between Fury and Joshua could rank among the richest fights of all time. Joshua's promoter, Eddie Hearn, wasted no time in suggesting it was high time for the heavyweight division to crown an undisputed champion.

"Fury was brilliant, and the tactics from [his trainers] Sugarhill Steward and Andy Lee were spot on," Hearn said, according to Sky Sports. "For me, we should go straight into AJ [Anthony Joshua] v Fury next. No one wants to see a third fight [between Fury and Wilder]."

Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury celebrates after knocking down Deontay Wilder during their Heavyweight bout for Wilder's WBC and Fury's lineal heavyweight title on February 22 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Al Bello/Getty