Updated October 9, 2021 - 11:16 pm
Former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder promised “retribution, redemption and retaliation” before his trilogy fight against champion Tyson Fury.
Instead, he was in for a repeat of the rematch — and one of the greatest fights in heavyweight history.
Fury concluded the trilogy Saturday night by knocking out Wilder 1:10 into the 11th round at T-Mobile Arena before a rabid crowd of 15,820. He also beat Wilder by knockout Feb. 22, 2020, at the MGM Grand Garden, and a second consecutive victory solidifies his status as the world’s best heavyweight and one of the sport’s biggest stars.
The fight featured five knockdowns and a bevy of hard, clean shots that wobbled both fighters throughout the course of the 11 rounds.
“It was a great fight tonight. It was worthy of any trilogy in the history of the sport,” said Fury, a 33-year-old Briton, who celebrated by singing Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis,” substituting “Vegas” for “Memphis.”
“I’m not going to make any excuses. Wilder’s a great fighter,” Fury added. “I’ve always said I’m the best in the world and he’s the second best.”
It feels as if the epic trilogy began an eternity ago amid the delay caused by COVID-19, but it actually begin Dec. 1, 2018, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Wilder floored Fury twice, including once in the 12th round. But Fury miraculously rose from the canvas and secured a split-decision draw by outboxing Wilder for most of the fight.
He dominated the rematch last year, scoring two knockdowns en route to a seventh-round stoppage. But Wilder exercised a contractual rematch cause and was awarded the trilogy via arbitration. He promised he would be better Saturday in the third fight.
And, truth be told, he was.
Wilder was the aggressor early, blending left jabs to the body with straight rights while Fury (31-0-1, 22 knockouts) worked to his rhythm. But he settled in rather quickly and walked Wilder down in the third round, connecting with two uppercuts and sending him to the canvas with a third right hand.
Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) bounced back in the fourth round to knock down Fury twice with his trademark right hand. But Fury rose both times and recovered rather quickly.
He turned the tide in the fifth round and began stalking Wilder, who slowly started to fatigue. He dropped Wilder with a vicious right in the 10th round and closed the show in the 11th by cornering the 35-year-old Alabaman and connecting with one more sweeping right.
Referee Russell Mora promptly stopped the fight, resulting in a technical knockout. Fury landed 150 punches compared with 72 for Wilder, per CompuBox. He also connected on 39 percent of his punches, compared with 20 percent for Wilder.
Wilder was taken to University Medical Center after the fight, according to a source.
“I have never, ever seen a heavyweight fight like this,” said Fury’s promoter, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Two tremendous warriors.”
The heavyweight division belongs to Fury, who has two signature victories over Wilder to go with another marquee win over Wladimir Klitschko. Unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk has the IBF, WBA and WBO championships after upsetting Anthony Joshua last month.
A unification could loom. Perhaps next year.
But that fight can wait, because this one was unforgettable.
“I was down a couple times. I was hurt. Wilder’s a strong puncher, and he’s a tough man,” Fury said. “Oct. 9, 2021, will go down in history as a great fight.”