The “Gypsy King” reigns once more, dropping Wilder twice on his way to a TKO win to become the new heavyweight champion Saturday night in an epic pay-per-view.
In front of a sellout crowd of 15,816 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Tyson Fury dethroned long-time champion Deontay Wilder, claiming the WBC World Heavyweight title and handing Wilder his first loss via seventh-round KO.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) scored two knockdowns in this joint, historic pay-per-view headliner, controlling much of the action and pounding away until Wilder’s corner threw in the towel at 1:39 of the seventh frame.
“A big shout out to Deontay Wilder. He came here tonight and he manned up and he really did show the heart of a champion,” said a jubilant Fury. “I hit him with a clean right that dropped him and he got back up. He is a warrior. He will be back. He will be champion again.
“But I will say, the king has returned to the top of the throne!”
Both had their moments in the first round, each landing right hands. Fury was the aggressor as Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) laid back, working the jab and the right behind it—both to the head and body. But the “Gypsy King” came alive again in the third. Two right hands dropped Wilder early in the stanza.
The second, which caused the fall, appeared to land behind the head. Nevertheless, Wilder beat the count on unsteady legs. From then, it was all Fury. Another knockdown occurred in the sixth, this time from a left hook to the body. Wilder appeared weak, yet he gamely fought on.
But when Fury continued to pour it on in the seventh, Wilder’s corner mercifully stepped in to rescue their fighter.
“I’m doing good. Things like this happen,” said Wilder. “The best man won tonight, but my corner threw in the towel and I was ready to go out on my shield. I had a lot of things going on heading into this fight. It is what it is, but I make no excuses tonight. I just wish my corner would have let me go out on my shield. I’m a warrior. He had a great performance and we will be back stronger.
“Even the greatest have lost and came back, that is just part of it. You just take it for what it is. I can make no excuses tonight. I had a lot of complications. But we’ll come back stronger next time around. This is what big-time boxing is all about, the best must fight the best. I appreciate all the fans that came out and supported the show, and I hope that everyone gets home safely.”
Charles Martin defeats Gerald Washington in six
The bout was an IBF world title eliminator, which means the 33-year-old Martin is in line to face the man who he lost the belt to and the current titleholder, Anthony Joshua.
"This win means a lot. It shows that I've been working hard,” said Martin. “The people can see it. I was never hurt at any point. This has just given me more confidence in myself. I can take the punches and give the punches."
Martin looked better than ever here, rocking Washington (20-4-1, 13 KOs) on several occasions before the sixth, when he landed a sneaky left cross from his lefty stance.
Washington rose still wobbly, forcing referee Tony Weeks to wave it off at 1:57 of the sixth.
"I knew that I had him hurt a few times in the fight,” said Martin. “Every round I think I hurt him, but I just couldn't finish him. I knew that I had to take my time in there. It took me some rounds to catch up with him, because he's very quick on the retreat.”
Emanuel Navarrete stops Jeo Santisima to retain title
It was the fifth defense of his title. Santisima (19-3, 16 KOs) was game but outgunned, unable to keep up with Navarrete’s volume punching. Those shots slowly wore him down round by round. A series of blows hurt Santisima in the 10th. The Mexican warrior closed the show one round later, battering Santisima until referee Russell Mora stopped the fight at 2:20 of the round.
Sebastian Fundora pounds out decision win over Daniel Lewis
Nicknamed “The Towering Inferno” for his lanky 6-foot-5 ½ frame and high-volume attack, the 22-year-old Fundora held a seven-inch height advantage over Australia’s Lewis. Early on, however, the latter was able to work his way inside, landing shots that bloodied Fundora’s nose.
His success didn’t last long. In the third, Fundora began timing him for left hands from his southpaw stance. He was the busier fighter down the stretch, pounding Lewis (6-1, 4 KOs) from all angles. Final cards read 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93.
"I think it was a fair decision and a good fight,” Fundora (14-0-1, 9 KOs) said afterward. There were a lot of hard punches. I knew he would be tough. When they told me I was fighting an Olympian, I knew it would be a tough fight. He probably had more experience than me, but we prepared the right way and got the win.”
In the prelims, welterweight prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. remained undefeated with a four-round unanimous decision over Corey Champion. Mielnicki (5-0, 3 KOs) dropped Champion in the second, dominating the action to win by scores of 40-34, 40-35 and 40-35.
For a closer look at Wilder vs Fury 2, check out our fight night page.