Tyson Fury delivered on a promise of fireworks in his defeat of Deontay Wilder as he completed one of the greatest turnarounds in the long and illustrious history of boxing.
For the second time in his unbeaten career, Fury is the heavyweight champion of the world after earning a seventh-round stoppage over his long-time rival to win the WBC strap.
It marks an incredible turnaround for Fury, who floored his opponent in the third and fifth rounds, given the turbulent times he endured following his first ascent to the top in November 2015.
We chronicle Fury’s journey between his first heavyweight title triumph and a glorious return to the summit in Las Vegas on Saturday.
November 2015: Fury shocks Klitschko and the world
Fury was typically brash in the build-up to his heavyweight title showdown with Wladimir Klitschko over four years ago, but few were predicting the upset that was to come. The Briton brilliantly outpointed Klitschko – who along with brother Vitali had dominated the heavyweight scene for over a decade – in Dusseldorf to win the WBA, WBO and IBF belts. It was Klitschko’s first defeat in 11 years.
January 2016: Wilder, Fury face off in Brooklyn
Fury, who had already been stripped of his IBF belt after agreeing to face Klitschko in a rematch instead of face mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov, was in attendance as WBC champ Wilder knocked out Artur Szpilka in Brooklyn. After the fight, Fury entered the ring and the two faced off in a heated exchange. Wilder would later say he wants to “really hurt” Fury.
October 2016: Fury vacates belts after troubled year
It was a difficult 2016 for Fury, who faced accusations of homophobia and anti-Semitism following controversial remarks made earlier in the year. Fury twice pulled out of scheduled rematches with Klitschko – in June and September – and announced his retirement in October on Twitter before reversing that decision three hours later. UK Anti-Doping announced in August that Fury had been serving a provisional ban over the “presence of a prohibited substance” – he denied ever knowingly committing an anti-doping violation and would later receive a backdated two-year ban in December 2017. An emotional Fury then opened up on his battle against depression and use of cocaine, before voluntarily vacating his WBO and WBA straps.
October 2017: I’m coming back for you!
Public appearances were limited for Fury in 2017, who had ballooned to 25 stone during his time out of the ring. But there were still plenty of vows to return and dethrone both Wilder and domestic rival Anthony Joshua. In October of that year, Fury released an Instagram post responding in typically charismatic fashion to Wilder’s claim that he was “done”. In a video that has resurfaced following his stunning Vegas victory, a smiling Fury said: “Big respect for giving me the motivation, for saying I can’t do it and I’m finished, I’m coming back for you [Wilder], I’m going to fulfil that promise I made to you a few years ago. You know what I’m talking about. And I’m coming back for the big stiff man [Joshua], the man who struggled with a midget…”
June 2018: The ‘Gypsy King’ returns
After almost three years out of the ring, Fury finally stepped back in the squared circle to score a facile victory over Sefer Seferi in Manchester. Two months later, after he had defeated Francesco Pianeta on points in Belfast, a date with Wilder was confirmed…
December 2018: Controversy reigns in Los Angeles
Those who said Fury was past his best and had opted to fight Wilder too soon were made to eat their words as the long-time rivals finally squared off in a blockbuster Los Angeles bout. Wilder twice sent his opponent to the canvas – the second knockdown followed by a remarkable 12th-round recovery from Fury. Although he was spectacularly floored, most pundits agreed Fury controlled proceedings with a tricky and tactically astute showing and the announcement of a split-decision draw was contentious to say the least.
October 2019: Fury a ‘Crown Jewel’ for WWE
Fury defeated Tom Schwarz in June 2019 and earned a unanimous decision victory over Otto Wallin despite sustaining a nasty cut to his right eye in the fight. In June, Fury announced a rematch with Wilder would take place in February 2020. That prospect was parked for the time being, though, as Fury swapped the boxing ring for the crazy world of WWE. After a couple of appearances on the company’s flagship show Raw, Fury fought the “monster among men” Braun Strowman at the Crown Jewel pay per view in Saudi Arabia, where he won via count out.
February 2020: Fury reigns again with Vegas masterclass
The decision to split with long-term trainer Ben Davison just two months prior to his long-awaited rematch with Wilder raised eyebrows and many concerns were expressed about the cut he sustained against Wallin. Talk of a second-round knockout also seemed like bluster, but Fury emphatically delivered on his promise to win in style. Fury was the aggressor from the off and put Wilder on the canvas in the third and fifth rounds, before the American’s corner threw in the towel in the seventh to complete one of the greatest comebacks boxing, and indeed sport, has ever seen.
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