The big fight pub atmosphere was alive and well on Sunday with a buzz I haven’t experienced in some time.
The world had waited 14 months for this rematch of the all-time classic split-decision draw of December 2018. It wasn’t quite what many expected, but it was just as stunning as the original in a completely different way.
On Sunday Tyson Fury dismantled Deontay Wilder in a contest for the WBC heavyweight title ending in a seventh-round technical knockout. It was the sort of dominant display that is hard to forget.
From the opening bell Fury showed no hesitation, seemingly unbothered by the now legendary power of Wilder that had him laid out multiple times in their first meeting. Fury kept coming forward, letting his hands go and pouring on what appeared to be unnecessary early pressure considering the dynamic of a 12-round title fight.
The fighters split the first two rounds, with both landing clean shots and neither deterred by what the other was bringing.
But the fight and the careers of both men in the ring all changed in Round 3.
With 27 seconds to go in the round a classic one-two from Fury dropped Wilder. It wasn’t the cleanest combination, but it was effective. A stiff jab that landed clean followed by a clubbing right hand to Wilder’s ear was the fight’s defining moment.
Wilder never recovered and never fully regained his balance or composure.
Fury’s confidence was evident from the opening bell but it only grew as he realised he had his man. He continued to be the aggressor, taunting Wilder in between rounds and even licking the blood of his opponent in a clinch in Round 6.
Wilder showed toughness we hadn’t seen from him before. He repeatedly took Fury’s best shots, and I along with many others in the pub was surprised the fight wasn’t stopped in the fourth or fifth round. Wilder spent these rounds visibly wobbled and disoriented.
Multiple slips showed the degree of Wilder’s unsteadiness and it became clear he may not have the power left in the tank to land the punch many had come to see.
By the sixth round Wilder had begun to seem a little more composed. Less telegraphing and more certain in his movements, he looked like he may have weathered the storm and was once again in the fight for brief moments.
In reality Fury was never going to lose the fight from this point. It was on his terms and, if anything, he was building into the fight rather than fading.
In the seventh round Wilder found himself leaning back in the corner and appearing gassed. Fury, with the aggression and control we had seen from only one fighter, landed two straight rights, rendering Wilder defenceless, and the referee stepped in to end the punishment.
On first viewing I thought the stoppage was a bit premature, but on the second watch it looked was justified. Considering the accumulated damage and the dominance of Fury, Wilder was saved from being unnecessarily knocked out.
This fight didn’t need a knockout ending. Tyson Fury dominated Wilder.
After any anticipated title fight the question of where to from here is the first talking point. While a rematch is probable, questions around the point of the fight will be raised. Fury had Wilder’s measure in every sense this time and it’s a stretch to find a case to support the likelihood of a different result if they were to meet again.
Wilder will always have a puncher’s chance, but he is going to need a lot of luck if and when the trilogy is completed.
For Fury, an undisputed heavyweight title fight with Anthony Joshua is the logical next match. It would draw enormous attention and interest. It has many things going for it to be spectacle beyond the Wilder fights. It would simply be huge.
For now the Gypsy King can do as he pleases.
Fury entered the ring on a throne and will be sitting in it for some time. The heavyweight division is his domain.
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