Wilder retains boxing heavyweight title after split draw with Fury

Reuters  Andrew Couldridge

Reuters Andrew Couldridge

Then, as promoter Frank Warren revealed that discussions for a rematch are already underway, Fury regained his diplomatic stance of the night before: 'I don't want to say any more which might take away from a great fight nor from Wilder as a true champion and fighting man.

Commentator Mauro Ranallo had uttered his trademark "mamma mia", telling us that Wilder had done it, as The Bronze Bomber wheeled away towards a neutral corner, no doubt confident in the assumption that the fight was his. However, like in the 12th round, Fury recovered quickly and began to land punches again on the champion. I don't know what fight he was watching.

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Fury, who won the unified world title from Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 only to lose his belts as he battled depression, alcohol and drug problems, was equally baffled. In all the other rounds the fighters were separated by a single point.

Wilder celebrated as if he had won and members of his entourage moved to climb into the ring, only to stare in disbelief as Fury somehow cleared his head and got to his feet. "I think that everyone should be thankful to Tyson for being professional under his conduct", he said. Wilder has emerged as a great heavyweight champion, and he continues to prove that. "I thought I won the fight.", Fury said at the post-fight press conference.

"I just wanted to be an ambassador for my country and my people".

A rematch of what was a superb fight is definitely on the cards. Fury used his twitchy movement and near-constant feints to disrupt the rhythm of Wilder, whose trademark looping punches rarely found their mark.

Fury went right back to work in the next two rounds, and a decision appeared to be in reach.

However, in the ninth round, Wilder finally made his mark, dropping Fury with a short hook that had the fans on their feet.

A win for Wilder would have likely set up a blockbuster world heavyweight unification title bout next year against the 22-0 Briton, a fight the American has long sought. "The way he was able to slip the right hand (of Wilder), it was handsome boxing, no doubt about it".

Fury's extraordinary Lazarus act however ensured the fight would go to the judges.

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