Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury
|Date||December 1, 2018|
|Venue||Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Title(s) on the line||WBC heavyweight title|
|Tale of the tape|
|Split Decision Draw (115–111, 112–114, 113–113)|
Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury was a professional boxing fight that took place on December 1, 2018, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Undefeated defending WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder faced undefeated challenger and former WBA (Super), WBO, IBF, IBO, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. The fight ended in a controversial split draw with the scorecard at 115–111 for Wilder, 114–112 for Fury (which was incorrectly announced as 114–110), and 113–113.
The potential match up between Wilder and Fury had been talked about and promoted for several years prior to the fight, including by the two fighters themselves both in internet video interviews on YouTube and on social media platforms such as Twitter. The pair's first encounter had taken place off camera at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield in April 2013, where Wilder knocked out Audley Harrison on the undercard of Amir Khan vs. Julio Diaz, with both Wilder and Fury promising each other a fight in the future. Wilder became the first American heavyweight world champion in nearly a decade in January 2015, after defeating Bermane Stiverne via unanimous decision in Las Vegas to pick up the WBC title, the only world heavyweight title at the time that was not held by the reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko. Fury then also became champion in his first world title attempt by defeating Klitschko for the remaining titles in Dusseldorf, Germany later that year in November 2015, ending Klitschko's decade long reign with a unanimous decision victory.
Wilder then made the third defence of his title in January 2016 against Artur Szpilka at the Barclays Center in New York, a fight in which Fury was in attendance. At the end of the fight after Wilder had knocked out Szpilka in devastating fashion, in an attempt to build a future fight Fury jumped into the ring and there was a face to face confrontation between the two men, this time in front of the onlooking crowd and a live television audience. Fury grabbed the microphone before telling Wilder, "There's only one Tyson Fury, what you got to say about that, Deontay?", with Wilder replying "we all know, Fury, this is just an act, I ain't scared of nobody and I'll come to your backyard for that fight, baby!" Fury continued the verbal tirade by shouting, "any time any place anywhere, when you're ready, I'll fight you in your back garden like I done Klitschko I'll beat you, you bum! You're a bum!" With several people now separating the pair, Fury took off his jacket and threw it to the ground whilst pacing up and down talking to Wilder across the ring, and Wilder took the microphone again to tell Fury, "I don't play this, you can run around like you're a preacher and all that but I promise you when you step in this ring I will baptise you!"
After their heated discussion in New York, a fight between the two had seemed inevitable in the near future but with Wilder obliged to face mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin next and Fury bound by a contractual rematch clause with Klitschko it appeared the fight would have to wait, at least until the end of the year. However, the coming months saw Fury postpone the Klitschko rematch twice, firstly due to an ankle injury in June which saw the rematch put back from 9 July to 29 October before Fury cancelled a second time in September after being declared medically unfit following a positive test for cocaine. This led to Fury vacating his remaining titles in October 2016 and further problems with depression, alcohol and excessive weight gain followed with Fury announcing his retirement from the sport only to change his mind on more than one occasion. Fury eventually regained his boxing license and was cleared to fight again in December 2017 and began training for his comeback around the same time.
Meanwhile, Wilder had now made six successful defences of his crown including his first-round knockout in a rematch with Stiverne, while the seventh defence was to be a career best win over unbeaten top contender Luis Ortiz in March 2018 via a tenth round knockout. Post fight, on both occasions Wilder called out Anthony Joshua, who had since become champion by collecting the IBF and WBA titles that had been vacated by Fury in fights against Charles Martin and Klitschko, with Wilder stating his desire to unify the titles saying, "The world wants Wilder and Joshua, I want Joshua! Joshua, come and see me baby, no more hiding, no more ducking, no more dodging, no more excuses, let's make the fight happen and let's see who's the best, I know I'm the best, are you up for the test?" Later that month, Joshua defeated previously unbeaten Joseph Parker via unanimous decision in a unification bout which saw him add the WBO title to his name. However, after several months of ultimately fruitless negotiations with Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn, Wilder and manager Shelly Finkel were left to look elsewhere with Joshua instead opting to make a defence against Povetkin which would take place on 22 September, whilst Fury made his return to action on 9 June after a two and a half year hiatus since his win over Klitschko, stopping Sefer Seferi in four rounds.
On 27 June 2018, Fury gave Wilder a message in an Instagram video saying, "I'll apologise on behalf of Eddie Hearn and Anthony Joshua because they're from the same country as I am, they won't fight you and they've took three months stringing you and the fans along with no intention of fighting, but I'll fight you in three seconds. Get your boss to send me the contract and I'll show you how long it takes to sign it! If you wanna fight the best this country has ever had knock on my door and see if the Gypsy King doesn't answer! The ball is in your court." Around this time, Fury and Wilder personally discussed a potential fight privately, and their two teams began talks for a fight to take place before the end of the year.
By August 2018, both Wilder and Fury had agreed to a fight and, with Fury scheduled for the second fight of his comeback against former world title challenger Francesco Pianeta on 18 August on the undercard of Carl Frampton vs. Luke Jackson at Windsor Park in Belfast, Wilder was to be ringside to begin the promotion of the fight with Fury. After a comfortable points victory over Pianeta in front of the onlooking Wilder, there was a second in-ring confrontation between the two with Wilder saying, "We're ready now, this fight will happen, it's on baby, this is what we've been waiting for right here, the best fighting the best!" While Fury said, "we are two men who will fight anybody, this man has been trying to make a big fight with the other chump, I think we all know who we're talking about. But listen they called, I answered, I said send the contract, they sent it and I said yes. I got my rounds in here tonight, but when I come to America one thing I can promise is I'm knocking you the fuck out boy!" Wilder replied by saying, "There's one thing Tyson Fury has never had and that's the WBC belt, and if he ever thinks about having it he better wake up and apologise to me because he ain't never having it. I can't wait to fight you because I am going to knock you out, like I did to everyone who stepped in the ring with me, you've never been knocked out but you will be when you experience what it's like to be hit by the Bronze Bomber." Before Fury told Wilder, "You can't knock out what you can't hit, this man couldn't land a blow on me tonight. I promise you, I'm taking the WBC title and I'll bring it back and defend it right here in Belfast!" The pair then posed for photographers and a face off before shaking hands, with Fury's promoter Frank Warren stating that the fight was one hundred percent on, with an announcement on a date and venue in the U.S to be finalised.
On 27 September, the fight was finally officially announced to be taking place on 1 December, with the venue chosen to be the Staples Center in Los Angeles which won the rights ahead of venues in both Las Vegas and New York. A three-city press tour was also announced with London, New York and Los Angeles visited in the space of three days, beginning on 1 October.
The weigh in took place on November 30, on a made platform outside the Los Angeles Convention Center. Fury stepped on the scale first and weighed in at 256½ pounds, his lightest since his comeback following his lay off. The weight was only 2 pounds less than he weighed in August 2018 against Francisco Pianeta, however he looked more slim and lean. Wilder was next to step on and came in at 212½ pounds, his lowest since his debut in 2008 when he weighed 207¼ pounds. For his last bout, Wilder weighed 214 pounds, however it was cited that Wilder suffered from an illness during his training camp.
For his unified light middleweight title, Hurd weighed 152 ½ pounds and his opponent Welborn came in at 152 ½ pounds. The remaining two televised cards which included Joyce vs. Hanks and Ortiz vs. Kauffman, as both were heavyweight bouts, the boxers did not need to make weight. Joyce weighed 262 pounds compared to Hanks' 247 ½ pounds. Ortiz stepped on the scales at 241 pounds and Kauffman weighed 229 pounds.
In front of a noisy crowd of 17,698 at the Staples Center, Wilder and Fury fought a 12-round split decision draw, meaning Wilder retained his WBC title. Mexican judge Alejandro Rochin scored the fight 115–111 for Wilder, Canadian judge Robert Tapper had it 114–112 for Fury and British judge Phil Edwards scored it a 113–113 draw.
The crowd booed at the decision with many believing Fury did enough to dethrone Wilder. Some fans and media outlets had Wilder the comfortable winner claiming Fury did not too enough in most rounds to win the fight. Fury, using his unorthodox stance, spent much of the fight using upper and lower-body movement to avoid Wilder big shots and stay out of range. There was not much action in round 1 as both boxers used the round to feel each other out. Wilder tried to trap Fury into the corner, but Fury made Wilder miss most of his big swings. In round 4, Wilder bloodied Fury’s nose with his stiff jabs, but was unable to follow up on the attacks. In round 6, Fury switched to southpaw stance and had some success backing Wilder against the ropes and at the same time stayed cautious of Wilder's power. Wilder managed to land a few jabs towards the end of the round. In round 7, after trading jabs, which saw Fury come out on top, Fury landed a counter right hand, then quickly tied Wilder up before he could throw anything back. Round 8 saw back and forth action with both trying to land. Wilder threw a lot of power shots which seemingly missed wide with Fury clearly seeing them coming. Wilder finished strong landed a right, left combination just before the bell. In round 9, Wilder finally dropped Fury with a short left hook followed by an overhand right. Fury beat referee Jack Reiss’ count and survived the round. Using up so much energy trying to finish Fury in round 9, Wilder looked fatigued in round 10. This came to as an advantage for Fury as he landed two right hands. Fury also took advantage in round 11, landing enough shots and avoided anything Wilder could throw. In round 12, Wilder landed a right-left combination which put Fury down hard on his back. The crowd, commentary team and Wilder believed the fight was over. Reiss looked at Fury on the canvas and began giving him a count. To everyone's surprise, Fury beat the count. Reiss made Fury walk towards him and called for the action to continue. Wilder, fatigued again, was unable to land another power shot and Fury landed some right hands to finish the round and the fight on his feet. Both boxers embraced in a hug after the final bell sounded.
According to CompuBox statistics, Wilder landed 71 punches of 430 thrown (17%), and Fury landed 84 of his 327 thrown (26%). Wilder was much less accurate in this fight than he usually had been in previous fights. Fury out-landed Wilder in 9 out of the 12 rounds. Both Wilder and Fury only landed double digits in 4 separate rounds.
After the fight, both men stood in the ring and spoke to Jim Grey. Wilder felt he had done enough to win the fight, stating, "I think with the two knockdowns, I definitely won the fight. We poured our hearts out tonight. We're both warriors, but with those two drops, I think I won the fight. 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. I was rushing my punches. That's something I usually don't do. I couldn't let it go tonight. I was forcing my punches too much instead of sitting back, being patient and waiting it. I really wanted to get him out of there, give the fans what they want to see."
Fury got the crowds agreement that he won the bout. He said, "We're on away soil. I got knocked down twice, but I still believe I won that fight. I'm being a total professional here. I went to Germany to fight [Wladimir] Klitschko, and I went to America to fight Deontay Wilder. God bless America. The 'Gypsy King' has returned. That man is a fearsome puncher, and I was able to avoid that. The world knows I won the fight. I hope I did you all proud after nearly three years out of the ring. 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."
Wilder and Fury both claimed to be the best heavyweights in the world and both called out unified world champion Anthony Joshua. Fury shouted, “Chicken! Chicken! Joshua, where are you?” Wilder then agreed stating the two best heavyweights got into the ring and fought.
The event was both a critical and a commercial success. At $74.99 in HD, the fight reportedly sold approximately 325,000 pay-per-view buys on Showtime in the United States, grossing around $24 million, making it the most lucrative heavyweight fight in the country since 2003. The fight was watched illegally online by nearly 10 million viewers worldwide via pirate streams, including 1.9 million in the United States and more than 1 million in the United Kingdom.
Showtime's delayed broadcast a week later drew an average 488,000 viewers, and peaked at 590,000 viewers, in the United States.
According to the California State Athletic Commission, Wilder would earn a guaranteed base purse of $4 million and Fury would take home a guaranteed purse of $3 million. Despite Frank Warren's original claim that the revenue would be split 50-50, it was revealed that if the fight generated 1 million PPV buys, Wilder could make $14 million (£10.94 million) and Fury would earn around $10.25 million (£8 million). Both boxers would see this increase to their base purses after receiving their percentages from pay-per-view revenue.
Guaranteed base purses
- Deontay Wilder ($4 million) vs. Tyson Fury ($3 million) - both stands to earn millions more from their percentage of Tickets and (PPV) Sales from the event.
- Jarrett Hurd ($1 million) vs. Jason Welborn ($30,000)
- Luis Ortiz ($375,000) vs. Travis Kauffman ($125,000)
- Joe Joyce ($40,000) vs. Joe Hanks ($50,000)
- Carlos Licona ($30,000) vs. Mark Anthony Barriga ($25,000)
- Julian Williams ($30,000) vs. Francisco Javier Castro ($2,500)
- Jessie Rodriguez ($7,000) vs. Josue Morales ($6,000)
- Chris Arreola ($25,000) vs. Maurenzo Smith ($16,000)
- Robert Guerrero ($25,000) vs. Adam Mate ($2,500)
- Isaac Lowe ($5,000) vs. Lucas Rafael Baez ($2,500)
|Heavyweight||Deontay Wilder (c)||vs.||Tyson Fury (c)||SD||12/12||Note 1|
|Light middleweight||Jarrett Hurd (c)||def.||Jason Welborn||KO||4/12||1:06||Note 2|
|Heavyweight||Luis Ortiz||def.||Travis Kauffman||TKO||10/10||1:01|
|Heavyweight||Joe Joyce||def.||Joe Hanks||KO||1/10||0:32|
|Strawweight||Carlos Licona||def.||Mark Anthony Barriga||SD||12/12||Note 3|
|Featherweight||Isaac Lowe||def.||Lucas Rafael Baez||TKO||5/10|
|Heavyweight||Chris Arreola||def.||Maurenzo Smith||RTD||6/8|
|Middleweight||Julian Williams||def.||Francisco Javier Castro||TKO||2/8|
|Welterweight||Robert Guerrero||def.||Adam Mate||TKO||2/8|
Many observers thought referee Jack Reiss would have stopped the bout in the way Fury landed on his back. Wilder stated nine out of ten referees would have called it off straight away. Speaking to SiriusXM Boxing, Reiss explained why he did not stop the fight,
"I was evaluating these guys throughout the whole fight (and) in the 12th round, they'd boxed their hearts out, threw a lot of punches but there wasn't a lot of heavy damage taken by either guy.
They both moved into the 12th round tired but not extremely hurt. When (Fury) got hit and he went down hard, that was an unbelievable knockdown. Two things went through my mind - No 1 always count a champion out and No 2 give this guy the benefit of the doubt and let's see how he still is. So when I went down to count... not only did I get down, I scooted in so he could see my hand and hear my voice.
I said three, four... he was grimacing, his eyes and his cheeks, he was grimacing so I knew he was awake and then when I said five his eyes popped open like I startled him. He rolled over and got up and said "I'm OK! Jack I'm OK" or whatever he said. I said, 'Do you want to continue?', he said 'Yes' and put his arms on my shoulders. I pushed his arms off and said walk over there, come back to me and show me you're OK. He did and we let it go.
It is the referee's opportunity to make sure the fighter who is hurt can intelligently defend himself because you're about let a guy come hurtling across the ring and finish this guy. People started making them walk in a straight line, any drunk can walk in straight line. Doctors taught us it is hard to hide things are off when they have to change direction. That's what I was doing."
Many also believed Reiss gave Fury a longer count. However, Reiss explained that he was making sure Fury was physically capable of defending himself before the fight could continue.
A week after the fight took place, promoter Frank Warren stated talks for the rematch would begin. The WBC also agreed to sanction a rematch if terms where agreed. According to Warren, negotiations were looking to be finalized in January 2019. Despite Warren calling for the rematch to take place at Emirates Staidum in London, Fury wanted it to take place at Old Trafford in Manchester. Wilder was open for a rematch to take place in the UK as long as the money was right. For the potential rematch, Wilder claimed he would be aiming to weigh around 245 pounds and believed he gave up too much weight in weighing in 209 pounds on fight night.
- 1 October 2018 – BT Sport Headquarters, London
- 2 October 2018 – Flight Deck at Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex, New York City
- 3 October 2018 – Star Plaza, Los Angeles, California
The fight was shown live on Showtime pay per view in the United States and on BT Sport Box Office in the United Kingdom. It was the first boxing PPV event headlined by heavyweights on US TV since Hasim Rahman vs. Oleg Maskaev II in 2006, and also the first heavyweight fight to be pay per view in both the US and UK since Lennox Lewis fought Mike Tyson in 2002.
|United States (host)||N/A||Showtime|
|United Kingdom||N/A||BT Sport Box Office||N/A|
|France||N/A||Canal+ Sport||N/A||My Canal|
|Greece||N/A||Cosmote Sport||N/A||Cosmote GO|
|Israel||N/A||Sport 1||N/A||Sport 1|
|Latin America||N/A||Fox Sports||N/A||Fox Sports Play|
|New Zealand||N/A||Sky Arena||N/A|
|Poland||N/A||Canal+ Sport||N/A||NC+ Go|
|Sub-Saharan Africa||N/A||SuperSport||N/A||DStv Now|
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