Wilder v Fury

It’s less than twenty-four hours since I watched one of the best Heavyweight contests in a long time.

The Bronze Bomber v The Gypsy King, come on, it sounds like it’s straight out of a feature film!

The Bronze Bomber is a black American from Alabama whose real name is Deontay Wilder. He won the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics as an amateur. He’s now 6ft 7inches, unbeaten in 40 fights and won most of them by knocking his opponents senseless. He’s the first American to hold the Heavyweight crown (WBC version) for nine years since he won the title in 2015. He’s a rag to riches story that has made him an American hero. Don’t get me wrong, he’s good, really good, and once he hits you, the lights go out and you fight no more.

The Gypsy King is a white Englishman whose real name is Tyson Fury from Manchester. He was born 12 weeks premature and weighed just 16oz at birth. His family are from the travelling community and have a great tradition with fighting. So his Dad decided to call him Tyson, after Mike Tyson. This scrawny kid grew into a 6ft 9inch Goliath and quickly set about making a reputation for himself in boxing. No one really took him seriously until 2015 when he was thrown in to fight the great Wladimir Klitschko, the Heavyweight Champion of the World. He beat Klitschko over twelve rounds and suddenly the world stood up and took notice.

So both their Worlds took on a new meaning in 2015. Wilder became WBC Heavyweight Champion and Fury took the other belts (WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO). But instead of the worlds colliding back in 2015, they took completely different directions.

Deontay Wilder kept fit, trained hard, chose his opponents carefully and knocked them all out. For the next couple of years, he was on top of the World, fighting regularly and making his reputation as a good World Champion.

Tyson Fury went on the piss! Big time. He ballooned in weight, found a liking for the Columbian marching powder, and drank himself into oblivion week after week. During this period he also decided it would be a good idea to make homophobic remarks on live television.  Eventually, before he was stripped of his title by the authorities, he decided to vacate his titles. But by 2016 it was too late and he was suspended from boxing. His habits had got out of control. The next two years saw rumours of comebacks but nothing really happened. Then in early 2018 Fury got his licence back. He was clean, tea total, focused and ready to make a comeback. He trimmed down and lost eight stone!

Since winning the WBC title in 2015, Deontay Wilder had seven fights winning them all in style. Tyson Fury had just two. He’d been away from the ring for thirty months and yet a match was set between them both to take place on December 1st 2018. Surely there could only be one winner?

So I paid my £19.95 and sat up all night to watch what some thought would be a one-sided contest. My son decided to go to LA and watch it live (oh to be young again.).

Fury is a madman (his words, not mine). He has no real style. He’s clumsy, awkward, sometimes he’s a southpaw and sometimes he’s orthodox. He must be the most frustrating person on this planet to fight against. But he’s also talented, clever, fast and cunning.

Wilder is the thing that we all love. A fighter with a punch that will take your head off. He’s also quick and awkward to fight, punches seem to come from nowhere and suddenly you’re gone.

It started at 5.00am this morning (UK time). For the first eight rounds, Wilder could not get near Fury. He tried a number of times but kept missing. All the while Fury was scoring points, good combinations that reminded Wilder that he was in the ring with a really good boxer. By the end of the eighth round I had Fury winning six of them and Wilder (possible two). The ninth saw Wilder land with a chopping right that caught Fury behind his ear. He went down, but was up quickly and carried on. Wilder tried to finish the job but Fury was just too clever and slipped the punches easily. By the end of the eleventh and with only one more round to go, Tyson Fury (The Gypsy King) was well in front on everyone’s scorecard. Even the American TV company Showtime had him so far in front that Wilder would need a knockout in the last round to win.

The last round was one I wanted to watch from behind the sofa and with one eye shut. We all knew that Wilder would come out and swing punches from everywhere and if any of them landed then all Tyson Fury’s work would be in vain. If he could just hold on for one more round he would be the new Heavyweight Champion of the World.

 The 12th round was like something out of “Rocky”.

Just thirty seconds in and Wilder hits Fury with a left, right combination that makes his eyes roll to the back of his head and he falls like a dead man to the canvas. Oh no, it’s all over. Tyson Fury is comatose on the canvas. His eyes are open but he sees nothing. The ref starts his count. He gets to seven and Fury sits up like a mummy in a coffin. At eight he’s on one knee and at nine he’s standing! How the fuck has he done that? The ref asks him if he’s okay. Tyson just nods. The ref asks him to move from left to right to prove that he understands. Fury does.

All this time Deontay Wilder is celebrating his victory, convinced he’s just won the fight. The look on his face when he realises that Tyson Fury is able to continue is priceless. The ref says “Box on.”

They do and within twenty seconds Fury hits Wilder with a peach of a shot that stops him in his tracks. Suddenly both fighters are in danger of falling over.

I swear if my old Nan was still alive she could have got in that ring and pushed them both over. That’s how tired they both were. That’s how much they had both given.

The bell rang. It was over. Everyone agreed Tyson Fury was the new Heavyweight Champion of the World.

But hold on a minute. We’re in America, fighting an American Champion, a national hero, someone that makes the American Boxing Industry millions of dollars a year. That can’t be allowed to happen.

And it wasn’t.

The three judges gave their scores. Canadian Judge says 114-110 to Fury, Mexican Judge says 115-111 to Wilder. The UK Judge says 113-113. So the result is a draw.

I’ve watched the fight again and there is NO dispute that Fury won 7 rounds of the 12. No doubt at all. Some ex-boxers and experts say he won more, but he definitely won at LEAST 7.

Rematch? You betcha arse there’ll be a rematch. Can’t wait...


Thank you for this great reporting


teetotal (not tea total). I'm not that interested, but my pal texed me it was a draw. You've brought it to life. It seems like one of those fights that even I would watch.