In an incredible back-and-forth that included five knockdowns and countless exchanges, Tyson Fury retained his WBC Heavyweight World Title and lineal crown with an eleventh-round TKO win over former long-time champion Deontay Wilder in an ESPN+/FOX Sports pay-per-view live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The UK’s Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) scored three knockdowns in all, the final two in the eleventh frame, sending the raucous crowd of 15,820 into a frenzy.
“Like the great John Wayne said, iron and steel, baby,” Fury said. “I give God the glory for the victory. [Wilder] is a tough man. He took some big shots tonight. And I want to say that if it wasn’t for SugarHill, America and Detroit’s own, I wouldn’t have gotten through that fight tonight. He said, ‘get your jab working, big guy, and throw that right hand down the middle. That’s how the big dogs do it.’”
“I did my best, but it wasn’t good enough,” said Wilder afterwards. “I’m not sure what happened. I know that in training he did certain things, and I also knew that he didn’t come in at 277 to be a ballet dancer. He came to lean on me, try to rough me up and he succeeded.”
Fury got off to a hot start in the first round, landing quick one-two’s while Wilder worked the jab to the body. A hard right toward the end of the round punctuated it for Fury, as did another in the second.
The action heated up in the third when a big Fury right sent Wilder tumbling to the canvas. The game slugger from Tuscaloosa, Alabama rose to his feet, surviving the follow-up until the bell rang moments later.
With Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) on unsteady legs in the fourth, Fury pounced, looking to finish him off. But just when it appeared that the fight was about to end, the “Bronze Bomber” uncorked a perfect short right followed by another, driving Fury to the mat.
Fury made it to his feet but was down again moments later when another Wilder flurry floored him. The bell rang seconds after he got up.
Wilder started strong in the fifth, blasting Fury with more rights. The “Gypsy King” maintained his composure, digging to the body in close quarters.
The inside work slowly wore Wilder down. He was dropped again in the tenth from another Fury right and then a third and final time in the eleventh via a crunching right cross. Referee Russell Mora mercifully rescued the brave warrior, ending the fight at 1:10 of the round.
“It was a great fight tonight, as good as any trilogy in history,” said Fury. “October 9, 2021, will go down in history, I hope. I always said I was the best in the world and he was the second-best. Don’t ever doubt me. When the chips are down, I will always deliver.”
In the co-main event battle between two unbeaten heavyweights, Frank Sanchez (19-0, 13 KOs) scored one knockdown on his way to a comfortable, 10-round unanimous decision win over Efe Ajagba.
Sanchez used his superior boxing skills to keep the hard-hitting Ajagba (15-1, 12 KOs) off-balance for the entire fight. The “Cuban Flash” displayed his power as well, flooring Ajagba with a hard right in the seventh. A follow-up left hook which landed a tick after Ajagba’s knee hit the canvas
Ajagba made it to his feet and survived the round but never seriously threatened on his way to the first defeat of his career.
Sanchez said, “I knew I was going to win all the rounds because I’m much better than him technically. I knew that if I connected, he would fall and he did fall. My game plan was always to frustrate him and go in for the attack.”