Tyson Fury says he threw career-ending shots to retain his WBC heavyweight crown on Saturday against Deontay Wilder.
In an epic battle in front of 15,820 fans at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, both fighters were knocked down on multiple occasions in an enthralling contest full of improbable twists and turns.
Fury looked to have gained the upper hand after flooring Wilder in the third round, only for the 35-year-old from Alabama to respond with two knockdowns that had the English champion clinging on desperately in the fourth.
But it was the bigger, heavier Fury – landing the cleaner and more damaging blows – who finished the stronger, and the champion had Wilder down once again in the 10th with a right hook.
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Wilder responded bravely to that knockdown by wobbling Fury in return.
But the brutal energy-sapping nature of the fight, and Fury’s relentless physicality, finally took its toll on Wilder in the 11th.
With the American exhausted and on the ropes, Fury landed the decisive combination.
A right uppercut scrambled Wilder’s senses before Fury crashed a right hook into his opponent’s temple that sent the challenger tumbling to the canvas, barely conscious.
“I just hope that he’s OK. Because he took a lot of punishment from me tonight…with shots that end careers,” Fury told CBSSports.
“Don’t ever doubt me,” Fury added. “When the chips are down I will always deliver.
“I give him the glory for the victory. He’s a tough man — he took some big shots tonight.
“Like the great John Wayne said, I’m made of pig, iron, and steel, baby!”
“I took some big shots but my lord and savior helped me up and kept me going. It was a great fight tonight and it’s worthy of any trilogy in the history of the sport.”