As far as Tyson Fury is concerned, his feud with Deontay Wilder is over even if his rival might not feel the same way.
Fury defeated Wilder by 11th-round knockout on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, putting an exclamation point on their trilogy of fights and giving Fury a commanding 2-0-1 lead in the series. With the win, Fury also retained his WBC and The Ring heavyweight titles.
Afterwards, Fury wanted to shake hands with a man he’s gone almost 30 rounds with, but Wilder apparently wasn’t having it. Fury elaborated on the exchange at the evening’s post-fight press conference when asked what was different between his second and third fights with Wilder.
“He improved, he worked on his boxing and stuff,” Fury said. “It was a different fight. It was a much different fight than Fight 2, and a much different fight from Fight 1. He came in real heavy tonight, 238 pounds, and I believe that helped him and he was definitely hitting solid.
“But you know what, I thought that we fought it all out there and all allegations that were made towards me throughout the build-up of this fight, we fought like two warriors in there and I went over to shake his hand and say, ‘Well done,’ and he was like, ‘No, I don’t respect you.’ I was like, how can you say I cheated when you know in your own heart and your full team knows that you just got beat fair and square. It’s just a sore loser in boxing, I’m sure he’s not the first one and he won’t be the last one, but I’ve acted like a gentleman throughout my career and that’s all I can do as a man.”
In the lead-up to the trilogy bout, Wilder and his team brought up past accusations that Fury had cheated in their second fight, which Fury won by TKO in Round 7. With back-to-back wins over Wilder now, Fury is hoping to move on from the rivalry.
Saturday’s fight between the two heavyweight stars was a thriller and Wilder actually had Fury in danger in the fourth round with a pair of knockdowns. Fury acknowledged Wilder’s highly vaunted knockout power, but said he was never in danger.
“You mess with fire long enough, you’ll get burned,” Fury said. “I’ve had three fights with the biggest puncher in the history of my sport in my division and he caught me. He caught me twice in the fourth round, but I was never thinking, ‘Aw, this is over.’ I was thinking, ‘Okay, good shot, but I will get you back in a minute.’ And I did. I was very conscious, saw the ref go ‘three, four’ and I was always there, you know? He shook me, he put me down, and that’s boxing.
“It’s life as well. It’s not about how many times you get put down or how many times you lose or win, it’s about how you can come back and keep getting back up and keep moving forward, like Rocky said. You’ve got to keep moving forward in a positive manner and keep fighting. Not just in a boxing fight, but in life in general because nothing’s ever gonna be easy. If you want something that’s very hard to get, you’ve got to sacrifice and dedicate and keep pushing no matter what and never let anybody tell you you can’t because tonight again, time and time again I show that it’s very possible to achieve anything you ever wanted as long as you believe it in here.”
Fury is widely considered the No. 1 heavyweight in all of boxing and his back-to-back knockouts of Wilder only serve to strengthen his case. There are others who will could look to lay claim to the throne in the near future, namely undefeated Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, who recently scored an impressive unanimous decision win over Anthony Joshua.
While Usyk appears to now have leapt over Joshua in the race for a potential duel with Fury, “The Gypsy King” isn’t committing to anything just yet.
“We’ll see,” Fury said when asked about his interest in a fight with Usyk. “I’ve got just earned a well-earned break from everything. I’ve been away from my family for six months in total. I’ve been home two weeks out of the last six months, so before I start thinking about fighting other men, I’m gonna bask in this victory tonight as one of my greatest wins. I got off the floor to do it and I’m the big dog in the division.
“I’m probably one of the heaviest heavyweight champions in history tonight, 277 pounds, and I was fit, I was strong in there, I felt good. We’ll just see what today brings and tomorrow as well.” MMA Fighting