Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury’s hotly-anticipated heavyweight showdown ended in a draw despite the Brit twice being knocked to the canvas.
Both fighters went into Saturday night’s bout at the Staples Center in Los Angeles with perfect records to protect, while Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title was also on the line.
However, the judges could not separate the pair, with Robert Tapper scoring 114-110 in favour of Fury, while Alejandro Rochin felt Wilder done enough to win the fight by scoring it at 115-111 and British official Phil Edwards went with a 113-113 draw.
Fury certainly proved he could still box at the highest level following his long spell out of the ring and he frustrated Wilder for much of the fight, particularly as he landed a lot of punches with his jab.
Wilder is not regarded as one of the biggest hitters in boxing for no reason, however, and he turned the fight on its head by knocking Fury to the canvas in the ninth round.
The Bronze Bomber then repeated that trick in the final round, but Fury’s good work during the rest of the fight was enough to earn him the draw.
Both fighters certainly felt they had done enough to win the bout, but there was also a huge amount of respect shown between the pair, who delivered on their promise of producing an entertaining spectacle.
Fury told BT Sport: “I thought I won the fight. Deontay thought he won the fight. I’ll let the fans be the judge. “I got caught, this is boxing. You can’t go swimming and not get wet. This is the biggest puncher in the history of the heavyweight division.”
Wilder added: “I think with the two knockdowns, I definitely did enough but the judges saw it differently. “At the end of the day, boxing wins. The fans win and that’s what it’s all about. We gave a great promotion, we gave a great fight. We built up the hype and we lived up to the hype and that’s what counts.”
The duo are now expected to contest a rematch in the near future, which is likely to put Wilder’s potential unification showdown with WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO champion Anthony Joshua on the back burner for the time being at least.