Tyson Fury survived a 12th round knock down to draw with Deontay Wilder in LA.
‘The Gypsy King’ was very impressive throughout, and seemed to do enough to claim a points victory, but the judges scored the fight as a split decision draw.
One judge scored it 115-11 in Wilder’s favour, another scored it 114-110 to Fury, and the third opted for a 113-113 draw.
Fury outboxed Wilder for large periods of the fight, but had to climb off the canvas twice against the WBC champion.
‘The Bronze Bomber’ dropped Fury in the ninth, and the British fighter then defied logic to somehow beat the count in the final round after being floored by two huge shots.
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For the most part, however, Fury outboxed and frustrated his American opponent.
Wilder probed forward from the outset, but the ever elusive Fury landed a clever flurry of punches before the bell in the first to claim the round.
The 30-year-old Manchester boxer showboated and goaded Wilder throughout the fight, and the American champion largely failed to connect with his power punches as Fury made him miss time and time again.
There was visible swelling around Wilder’s eye, and it wasn’t until the ninth round that the 33-year-old displayed his frightening power.
He sent Fury to the canvas with a barrage of punches, but the British boxer recovered well, and kept Wilder at bay cleverly in the 10th and 11th rounds.
Despite fears over Fury’s lack of rounds and weight, the lineal champion’s stamina was impressive throughout.
Wilder – who Fury described as the hardest hitter in heavyweight history – sent Fury crashing to the ground just 40 seconds into the final round, with ‘The Gypsy King’s’ head bouncing off the canvas.
Fury showed incredible resilience to climb back to his feet, and managed to survive Wilder’s subsequents wild attacks to hear the final bell.
Both fighters voiced their desire for a rematch immediately after the draw was announced, and both aimed jibes at Anthony Joshua by claiming to be the two best heavyweights on the planet.
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“We’re on away soil, I was knocked down twice but I still genuinely believe I won that fight,” Fury said afterwards.
“I am going to remain professional. I went to Germany and beat Klitschko, I came here and felt I beat Wilder.
“God love America, the Gyspy King is back. I am a fighting man and Jesus had his power over me tonight.”
Wilder also felt he deserved the victory, but conceded that he rushed his punches in the fight. The ‘Bronze Bomber’ also vowed to “get” Fury in a rematch.
“I did feel I got it with the two knockdowns, but I was just rushing my punches tonight,” he claimed.
“When I rush them, they are never accurate. That’s what I was doing tonight.
“The rematch will happen and I will get him in that.”
On the undercard, Joe Joyce continued his impressive rise with an eye-catching first round knockout against Joe Hanks.
Luis Ortiz eventually stopped Travis Kauffman in the final round to bounce back from his defeat to Wilder, and Jarrett Hurd knocked out British challenger Jason Welborn to retain his WBA and IBF 154-pound titles.