Jarrett Hurd defends 154-pound titles with a fourth-round KO of James Welborn; Luis Ortiz registers a 10th-round TKO of Travis Kauffman and Joe Joyce remains undefeated with first-round KO of Joe Hanks.
LOS ANGELES — All that was left were blank stares and shrugs. No one likes to hear split-draw, but this was a little different.
Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury put on a classic before a wild 17,698 at the Staples Center Saturday in Wilder’s eighth defense of the WBC heavyweight title.
The main event of a Showtime PPV card featured two knockdowns, when Wilder dropped Fury with an overhand right in the ninth and a right-hand, left-hook left Fury supine on the canvas in the 12th, only to see the goofy Brit rise like Lazarus.
In the end, judge Alejandro Rochin had it 115-111 for Wilder, judge Robert Tapper had it 114-112 for Fury and judge Phil Edwards had it 113-113, making it a split draw.
And no one was complaining.
Of course Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) thought he won, 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.
“When you're at each other and you have a great fight, we give each other all we've got. At the end of the fight that’s what it’s all about. He was just tell me great fight, he loves, and thank you for the opportunity. We’re the best in the world. The respect was mutual.
“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.”
Wilder immediately knew what he did wrong. He often went flailing at Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs). “The Gypsy King” was incredibly nimble for a 6-foot-9 fighter who had not fought anyone close to Wilder’s caliber in two years.
“I didn’t feel no pressure at all,” Wilder said. “When I rush my punches like that I’m never accurate. The rematch I guarantee I’m going to get him. I would love for it to be my next fight (on the rematch). Why not? Let’s give the fans what they want to see. It was a great fight and let’s do it again. It doesn’t matter to me where we do it.
“We’re the two best in the world and we proved it tonight. When you get two warriors you get a great fight. That’s what we proved tonight and I’m ready to do it again.”
Fury was very effective with his jab, landing 46 of 223 (21%) to Wilder’s 40 of 248 (16%). Wilder had trouble finding Fury, if that’s possible, connecting on Wilder - 31 of 182 (17%) power shots to Fury’s 38 of 104 (37%). Fury did outland Wilder (total punches 84 of 327 (26%) to Wilder’s 71 of 430 (17%).
Fury immediately gave a thumbs-up for a rematch.
“One hundred percent we’ll do the rematch,” he said. “We are two great champions. Me and this man are the two best heavyweights on the planet.
“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 Klitschko and I went to America to fight Deontay Wilder. God bless America. The ‘Gypsy King’ has returned.
“I’m what you call a pro athlete that loves to box. I don’t know anyone on the planet that can move like that. 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 down tonight. I showed good heart to get up. I came here tonight and I fought my heart out.”
They both did.
Jarrett Hurd takes care of Jason Welborn, turns attention to Jermell Charlo
In the co-feature, Jarrett Hurd defended his junior middleweight title for the third time by stopping Englishman Jason Welborn at 1:55 of the fourth round. Hurd (23-0, 16 KOs) survived a fierce attack by Welborn (24-7, 7 KOs), before he crushed Welborn with a crippling right to the body.
But that’s when things got really exciting.
While Hurd was talking to Showtime’s Jim Gray during the post-fight interview, he was immediately interrupted by Jermell Charlo.
“I’m just coming of surgery so I wanted to see how I worked off the jab,” Hurd said. “I felt good I was working behind the jab. I got caught on the ropes and got caught with some shots and said ‘that’s enough. He got enough TV time.’
“We definitely want Charlo. I’m calling the shots. I’m number one right now. When I say answer the phone, answer the phone. I got the date.
“I’m going to have a hometown fight. I’m coming off two fights with southpaws so I want to fight a right hander and then I want the Charlo fight.”
Charlo’s response, “This is easy money. I like those belts – they look real good on you. He said he wants another fight. I’m ready now.”
Luis Ortiz takes care of business against Travis Kauffman
Luis Ortiz knocked down Travis Kauffman three times, before finally vanquishing the game heavyweight from Reading, Pennsylvania, at 1:58 of the 10th.
The 241-pound Ortiz (30-1, 26 knockouts) looked like he could have ended the fight much sooner than he did, since Kauffman (32-3, 23 KOs) didn’t put up much resistance. Kauffman did, however, show he could take a punch.
Still, Ortiz was calling out the winner of Wilder-Fury, which now will have to be put on hold.
“I’m a warrior,” proclaimed Ortiz. “Nothing contains me. We didn’t have to knock him out, but we wanted to show everything we have in our repertoire, and we showed it tonight.
“Of course I’ll fight the winner of the main event (Wilder vs. Fury). I want that second fight with Wilder. I want to fight anybody.”
Ortiz landed almost 100 more total punches than Kauffman, 135-to-37.
With 1:35 left in the ninth, Ortiz hit Kauffman low again and Taylor stopped the fight a second time. That seemed to charge up Ortiz, who brutalized Kauffman, working his body and head.
With 1:12 left in the 10th, Ortiz landed a crushing left straight on Kauffman’s face and that’s when “King Kong” opted to end it. Ortiz poured on a series of power punches before Taylor mercifully halted it at 1:58.
Joe Joyces keeps perfect KO streak intact over Joe Hanks
In the pay-per-view telecast opener, Joe “The Juggernaut” Joyce (7-0, 7 KOs) recorded a massive first-round knockout against Joe “The Future” Hanks (23-3, 15 KOs). A rising heavyweight, Joyce, from London, England, ended the fight officially after just 2:25 as he used a right jab to set up a near-perfect left hook sending Hanks to the canvas and down for the count.
Trained by noted trainer Abel Sanchez, Joyce told Gray he’s ready for anyone. “I want to get in some bigger fights,” said the former Olympic silver medal winner who recorded his fourth first-round KO. “I’ve been doing well so there is plenty more to come. All the support from back home in England, thanks for coming. I hope I put on something good to watch.”
It was the second win in the United States for Joyce, who also picked up the vacant WBA Continental heavyweight title. “I’m getting people out quickly,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of experience, I’m just going to improve on my strength and my speed. I’ve heard comments that I’m slow but I seem to land the shots and get the job done.”
For a complete look at Wilder vs Fury, check out our fight page.