Controversy has erupted over the scorecard for the Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder fight, with the Brit’s team set to protest the result.
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Fury missed out on claiming the WBC belt in Los Angeles after a split decision draw was given at the Staples Center, yet he felt he had done enough despite twice being knocked down.
The Brit’s promoter Frank Warren is planning action in a bid to at least enforce a rematch, having been outraged by judge Alejandro Rochin’s scoring, which contentiously had Wilder winning the first four rounds en route to a 115-111 success.
“I was very, very disappointed with certainly the Mexican judge’s scoring,” Warren told iFL TV. “How on Earth he gave the first four rounds to Wilder, I don’t know. I don’t know what fight he was watching.
“I’ve spoken to Charlie Giles, who’s the president of the [British] Boxing Board of Control, and he’s supporting us. We’ll be formally writing to the WBC to ask for a rematch.
“I’m quite sure Mr Sulaiman [Mauricio Sulaiman, WBC president] – being the proud Mexican that he is – will want to make sure there is a rematch as his judge got it wrong.”
Here is your Wilder-Fury scorecard. The first half of the fight is a mess. pic.twitter.com/2nKIiF8DvB
— Andreas Hale (@AndreasHale) December 2, 2018
Fury addressed the media again on Sunday and he similarly had scathing criticism of Rochin, claiming he should not be allowed to judge again.
“I don’t know what fight those judges were watching,” Fury told a news conference. “I’ve never seen a worse decision in my life.
“It’s boxing, it’s not the first time it’s happened but stuff like this gives boxing a bad name. You can’t take anything away from me or Wilder and you can’t let the decision take away from how good a fight it was.
“The world knows who the champion is; Wilder has been given a gift in his own country – he must be thanking his lucky stars because that belt belongs to me.
“[Rochin] needs to be banned from boxing because he can’t judge.”
Many former boxers, pundits and fans were equally as baffled by the contentious judging.
This #WilderFury judging takes me back to my first fight with @holyfield Just goes to show how hard it is for a Brit to come to America and take someone’s belt even tho that’s what we clearly saw. Big up to @Tyson_Fury who never ceases to amaze me. Hold ur head high! 👊🏾💥
— Lennox Lewis (@LennoxLewis) December 2, 2018
The boxing experts around us here ringside believe Fury may have shaded this. They simply cannot believe he got up from 12th round knock-down
— Dan Roan (@danroan) December 2, 2018
No Way You Can Have A ScoreCard 115 to 111 for Wilder… Fury took him to School!!
— Eddie Chambers (@champfasteddie) December 2, 2018
Fury — the undeniable comeback story of 2018 who, just a year ago, abused drugs and alcohol, weighed nearly 400 pounds and admittedly was on the brink of suicide — silenced his naysayers by boxing brilliantly and surviving a pair of devastating knockdowns against one of the hardest punchers the heavyweight division has ever known.
His improbable resurrection from the dead after a left hook laid him flat in the 12th round, was about as legendary of a recovery as Muhammad Ali surviving a vicious Joe Frazier left hook in the 15th round of their classic encounter in “The Fight of the Century” 47 years ago.
It’s about as iconic of a moment that you can find in the history of boxing
“I honestly don’t know,” Fury said of how he made it to his feet after Wilder detonated a nuclear bomb of a left hook on him in the final frame.
— BOXING CORNER 2️⃣4️⃣/7️⃣ (@boxingcorner247) December 2, 2018
“I think someone laid hands on me and brought me back, rose me from the brink of defeat.”
Usually, the most dramatic moment of a fight is how a fighter goes down, not how he gets back up. But that narrative is fitting for Fury, who continues to overcome the odds.
Wilder — America’s first heavyweight champion in nearly two decades that was saddled with making a dead division relevant again — gained the notoriety and respect he desperately sought after.
Although technically outboxed by “The Gypsy King,” the 33-year-old from Tuscaloosa, Alabama refused to tuck his tail and call it a night.
Instead, he swallowed his frustration and rebuffed any idea of just riding the fight out.
Eventually, his power found its target, sending the unbeaten Brit down in the ninth and 12th rounds.
Few fighters, if any, who rely so heavily on their knockout power would have endured the pending ridicule of being embarrassed by their opponent in a battle of fisticuffs to keep pressing forward.
“I didn’t feel like I needed that round, we just wanted to — as a champion — finish in great fashion,” Wilder said.
“You can’t be too naïve to sit back and think that you’re ahead in a fight because you never know what the judges are looking at.
“As the champion, sometimes you have to be the aggressor.”
Although he didn’t think he was losing the fight, Wilder’s desire to close the show in dramatic fashion is what makes him a special fighter.
However, even he was dumbfounded by Fury’s ability to stand up after taking a wicked left hook that would have sent any fighter to their maker.
“I literally seen his eyes rolling into the back of his head,” Wilder said.
“When I saw the referee checking on him, I thought ‘it’s over.’ Only God knows how he got back up.”
If nothing else, both fighters dramatically raised their profile and proved that the heavyweight division is the glamour division of the sport.
Fury gained an American following courtesy of his iron will and remarkable resolve, while Wilder proved that he will never not be dangerous at any given moment of a fight.
More importantly, heavyweight boxing needed this. And a draw was arguably the most fitting way the fight could end, regardless of who you thought won.
“Are you not entertained?” Fury bellowed upon entering the post-fight press conference.
Although miffed by the result, Fury was keenly aware of the gravitas of the moment.
For once, heavyweight boxing thrived when all eyes were on the sport.
He also knew that complaining about the decision in front of a heavily pro-Fury crowd that travelled across the pond to see their champion could have done more harm than good on a night where boxing thrived.
“I was telling my brothers and my family to be quiet,” Fury said.
“There were about 8,000 travelers, maybe 10,000, who had come from all around the world. They probably would have smashed this arena up if I had instigated. They’d have torn it down to the walls.”
To be clear, this wasn’t a robbery of any sort. Although Fury did an excellent job neutralising Wilder’s right hand, there were bouts of inactivity during the early rounds that could have gone either way.
There was just enough uncertainty that a rematch is more than warranted.
The high drama of Fury peeling himself off the canvas in the 12th round was the equivalent of Mike Trout being robbed of a walkoff homer in the 9th inning … of the World Series.
Had he not made it to his feet, we probably wouldn’t be talking about an immediate rematch with so much fervor.
And the rematch is where the money is at because this fight exceeded the hype and engaged a fanbase that was comfortable in its indifference for heavyweight boxing.
Given how the fight played out, an immediate rematch is easily one of the biggest fights that can be made in all of boxing.
More importantly, both Wilder and Fury no longer need their next fight to be with unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Instead, Joshua has become the odd man out in the heavyweight carousel.
Had either won and their next fight not been against Joshua, public interest would have waned. Instead, all of the talk surrounds the rematch as Joshua is free to face anybody he wants when he returns to the ring next April at Wembley Stadium.
By the time the dust settles, there’s no doubt that Joshua versus the winner of the rematch will be a massive encounter.
Ultimately, the draw has become the best possible outcome for Wilder-Fury.
It has created much-needed conversation in the heavyweight division and has brought mainstream attention to a pair of fighters with bigger-than-life personalities.
With Sporting News