By Tom Hawkins | Sport Editor
Heavyweight trilogies don’t come around often but when they do they tend to be great fights. You have to go back to famous fights like Evander Holyfield vs Riddick Bowe and Muhammed Ali vs Joe Frazier in 1971 which was deemed ‘the fight of the century’ to find the last time a rivalry was settled in a three part saga . The rivalry between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder was no exception.
In the build up to the third fight, the Gypsy King had been promising a “demolition job” of the bronze bomber, a feat not many would dare to take on when your opponent is one of the most devastating punchers in boxing history. Both fighters had bulked up and everything was set for an epic bout.
Fury began the fight by doing what he did in the second and putting the pressure on Deontay, walking down his opponent, closing the distance and using his long jab to his advantage. The fight appeared to only be going one way when the Gypsy King dropped Wilder in the third round with a right hand. However, you cannot write off a fighter with the punching power of the Bronze Bomber. He came back at Fury and managed to knock him down twice, resulting in Fury having to pull himself up off the canvas in the last minutes of the fourth round. Yet once again Fury proved he was the better man, full of heart and came back to dominate the later rounds. Fury out boxed Wilder and finally managed to knock him down once again in the tenth round from a slick shot to the side of the head. Wilder had taken incredible amounts of punishment on tired legs, being knocked down four times in total before Fury knocked him out cold in the eleventh, reclaiming his titles.
“Don’t ever doubt me when the chips are down,” Fury said. “I can always deliver”.
Deontay has yet to comment following his loss but aggravated Tyson on the night, refusing to shake his hand and accept he had been beaten by the better man on the night.
The third clash was an opportunity for Fury to finally move on from Wilder after many boxing experts agreed he was robbed of a decision win in the first fight and was faced with a barrage of excuses from the American after a win in the second. Wilder blamed just about everything on the loss including wearing his extravagant outfit tired him out after his ring walk and that Fury had put knuckle dusters in his gloves.
For Wilder this was a chance of redemption. He appeared a different man, a more focused individual. Throughout the press conferences he remained silent throughout, a change from his usual shouting and loud persona. A new trainer in Malik Scott and a bulkier physique gave Wilder the confidence he would win the WBC title back. However, Wilder was beaten by a superior boxer on this occasion.
Fury now has the choice of who he fights next. He could fight mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte if he beats Otto Wallin later this month. Alternatively, Fury could fight recently acclaimed heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, with Tyson’s dad, John, reportedly saying “Its Usyk or nothing”. Although, Eddie Hearn has outlined a plan which could see Fury finally settle a rivalry with Anthony Joshua in what would be one of the biggest fights in British boxing history. Fury holds all the cards.
In the meantime, Fury’s fight with Wilder will easily go down as one of the greatest heavyweight battles of all time. The instant classic in Las Vegas has cemented Fury as the greatest heavyweight on the planet.