LAS VEGAS, Nv. (FNN SPORTS) – Saturday night’s heavyweight title bout between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury delivered not only a knockout for boxing, it all but closed the books on any business left between the these two fighters.
Drawing over 17 million in live gate ticket sales, this much-anticipated boxing match was the biggest draw in heavyweight boxing history, surpassing Lewis vs. Holyfield 2 in April 1999. The question of the night, however, wasn’t whether the fight would be well attended or viewed, but would both men show up to fight? Would this first time marriage of ESPN and FOX Sports PPV be a blockbuster classic, or all-talk-and-no-bite hype? After all, Tyson Fury was quoted this week saying he wanted to “taste Wilder’s blood.” If that didn’t help sell more tickets to the fight, the final press conference shoving match would, right? Or could this boxing match get past all the pre-fight buzz and recapture the imagination and attention of boxing fans and fight fans across the globe?
Earlier in the week, a reporter asked Fury how he planned on fighting Wilder. What would his strategy be, since in the first fight he boxed so well and still only came up with a draw? Fury’s plan was simple: make Wilder fight backwards, and knock him out. Not known for his heavy hands, this seemed to be a tall task for Fury, but on Saturday night, he delivered on his word. He took the fight to the champ Wilder from the opening bell. Each round moved quickly, and I couldn’t help but wonder how long either man could keep his pace up.
Fury predicted a 2nd round knockout, and it only took him until the 3rd round to all but end the fight when he landed an overhand right that caught Wilder between his ear and the back of his head, sending the champion to the canvas for only the second time in his career. Wilder beat the count, but to the truthful watching the fight it seemed as if he never fully recovered. Much like a shark smells blood in the water, I could only imagine that a fighter can sense when there opponent has weakened, and or wills have been broken.
For the next four rounds, Tyson Fury beat, bludgeoned, leaned, slipped, and smoothed the remaining fighting life out of Wilder. He even leaned in and licked the blood off of Wilder’s neck before he cornered him. Fury landed a four-punch combination to Wilder’s head, leaving Wilder’s corner no option but to throw in the towel, stopping the fight at 1:39 in the 7th round.
Fury captured the crown and returned to the top of the boxing food chain as the new WBC and Lineal Heavyweight Champion of the World in dramatic fashion, putting the rest of the heavyweight division on notice that the “Gypsy King” has returned to the throne.
Antonio Campana is a sports contributor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org