Wilder keeps heavyweight title, fights Fury to split draw

Tyson Fury, left, of England, and Deontay Wilder embrace after their WBC heavyweight championship boxing match, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Los Angeles. The fight ended in a draw. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Deontay Wilder, left, and Tyson Fury, of England, trade punches during a WBC heavyweight championship boxing match Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Deontay Wilder, left, connects with Tyson Fury, of England, during a WBC heavyweight championship boxing match, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Deontay Wilder, left, and Tyson Fury, of England, trade punches during a WBC heavyweight championship boxing match, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Tyson Fury, of England, lies on the canvas after being knocked down by Deontay Wilder during the 12th round of a WBC heavyweight championship boxing match Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Boxer Floyd Mayweather points to someone in the crowd as he watches a boxing match between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, of England, for the WBC heavyweight championship, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Deontay Wilder, right, connects with Tyson Fury, of England, during a WBC heavyweight championship boxing match, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Tyson Fury, left, of England, taunts Deontay Wilder during a WBC heavyweight title boxing match Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Tyson Fury, of England, celebrates as his WBC heavyweight championship boxing match against Deontay Wilder ends, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Los Angeles. The fight ended in a draw. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Tyson Fury, of England, yells after a WBC heavyweight championship boxing match against Deontay Wilder, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Los Angeles. The fight ended in a draw. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Tyson Fury, left, of England, poses with Deontay Wilder, right, along with referee Jack Reiss after their WBC heavyweight championship boxing match ended in a draw, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Tyson Fury, left, of England, taunts Deontay Wilder during a WBC heavyweight title boxing match Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES — Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury fought to a split draw Saturday night, with Wilder retaining his WBC heavyweight title after knocking down his British challenger twice.

Wilder (40-0-1) floored Fury (27-0-1) in the ninth and 12th rounds, yet Fury clearly outboxed Wilder for large portions of the remainder of their entertaining showdown at Staples Center.

Fury looked finished when Wilder put him flat on his back with two minutes left in the fight, but he rose and made it to the bell.

"We gave each other all we've got," Wilder said. "We're the best in the world. The respect was mutual."

Judge Robert Tapper scored the fight 114-112 for Fury, while Alejandro Rochin favored Wilder 115-111. Judge Phil Edwards and The Associated Press scored it a 113-113 draw, with Wilder's knockdowns compensating for Fury's superior technique.

"I hope I did you all proud after nearly three years out of the ring," Fury said. "I was never going to be knocked out tonight. I showed good heart to get up. I came here tonight and I fought my heart out."

While both men thought they won, neither was overly upset by the verdict in front of a frenzied Hollywood crowd. They embraced warmly and immediately talked about a rematch in the spring.

"One hundred percent we'll do the rematch," Fury said. "We are two great champions. Me and this man are the two best heavyweights on the planet."

The bout was a rare meeting of two unbeaten heavyweight stars in their apparent primes, with both fighters putting aside caution and the typical squabbles over money or belts to stage one of the best matchups in the glamour division's recent history.

And the fighters delivered, each in his unique way. The 6-foot-9 Fury spent nearly every moment of the fight nimbly avoiding Wilder's punches in a masterful display of shifty technique and athletic defense — except for the two moments when the 6-foot-7 Wilder viciously knocked him to the canvas.

A punch to the top of Fury's head shockingly put him down in the ninth, but he bounced up quickly.

With just two minutes left in the fight, a vicious right-left combination from Wilder left Fury flat on his back with his eyes rolling in his head.

Even though Wilder made a throat-slashing gesture and mouthed "It's over," Fury somehow gathered his senses and beat the count. He steadied himself and went back to work, even landing a few shots of his own before the final bell.

Wilder failed to win for the first time since his semifinal bout at the Beijing Olympics, and he failed to knock out his opponent for only the second time in 41 career bouts. Yet the Bronze Bomber showed remarkable resourcefulness and power, avoiding what would have been a decision loss with those two knockdowns.

"We're both warriors, but with those two drops, I think I won the fight," Wilder said. "I came out slow. I rushed my punches. I didn't sit still. I was too hesitant. I started overthrowing the right hand, and I just couldn't adjust."

Fury also remained the unofficial lineal champion of the heavyweight division by virtue of his victory over Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015. Fury responded admirably to a big step up in competition after a 2½-year ring absence and two warmup bouts, but Wilder got him in just enough trouble to earn a draw.

Staples Center had a frenzied atmosphere after the high-energy introductions, but the fighters settled into a technical bout early.

Fury used his twitchy movement and near-constant feints to disrupt the Wilder's rhythm. The champion's trademark wild, looping punches rarely found their mark.

Fury struggled to generate consistent offense until a strong sixth round, likely costing himself early rounds. But the Englishman also made Wilder miss constantly, particularly ducking under Wilder's big right hand with grace.

Fury was elusive and creative in the seventh and eighth rounds, and Wilder had few answers. But early in the ninth, Fury went down when he absorbed a shot to the top of the head from Wilder.

The punch wasn't the biggest of the fight, but Fury was stunned — and he responded by getting up and raising his aggression in an exciting round.

Fury went right back to work in the next two rounds, and a decision appeared to be in reach. That's when Wilder buckled Fury's knees with a right hand and knocked him senseless with a left hand on the way down.

The fight attracted the celebrity attention expected in Hollywood from actors and athletes alike. Everyone from Chadwick Boseman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Shaquille O'Neal to boxing stars Gennady Golovkin and Mikey Garcia gathered for the marquee heavyweight bout.

On the undercard, Jarrett Hurd defended his WBA and IBF 154-pound belts with a fourth-round stoppage of Jason Welborn. Hurd (23-0, 16 KOs) overcame early trouble and floored the English challenger with one devastating right to the body.

Cuba's Luis Ortiz knocked down Travis Kauffman three times before stopping him late in the 10th round, and British heavyweight Joe Joyce improved to 7-0 with a first-round stoppage of Joe Hanks.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

People also read these

Mickelson on a mission to win a tournament or...

Sep 2, 2016

Phil Mickelson rarely feels this much urgency when the majors are over

IndyCar returns to The Glen; speeds rise on new...

Sep 2, 2016

IndyCar racing returned to Watkins Glen International on Friday after a six-year hiatus, and New...

Scott Dixon wins IndyCar pole at Watkins Glen

Sep 3, 2016

Scott Dixon won the IndyCar pole at Watkins Glen International on Saturday for the Grand Prix at...

Austin's homer gives young Yankees 5th straight...

Sep 9, 2016

Rookie Tyler Austin hit a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the New York Yankees...

Love chooses Fowler, Holmes, Kuchar for Ryder Cup

Sep 12, 2016

United States Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III has chosen Rickie Fowler, J.B. Holmes and Matt...

Sign up now!

About Us

In The Headline sought to bring professionalism back into journalism, bringing you only the most exclusive and the most impactive news from all over the globe.

Contact us: sales[at]intheheadline.com