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Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder Fight to Dramatic Draw, Hurd Returns

Incredible 12th Round Brings Wilder-Fury Collision to a Draw

 

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Tyson Fury boxed brilliantly, but he couldn’t stay away from Deontay Wilder’s power for the entire fight. Wilder scored with huge shots — dropping Fury in Round 9, then again when it mattered most, with the fight on the line in Round 12 — but he couldn’t put Fury away.

In the span of 10 seconds, Wilder saved himself from a loss, and Tyson Fury then did the same thing. Their fight ended as a draw.

It was an incredible sequence. Wilder, believed to be down on the scorecards, needed to do something dramatic in the final round. He’d had trouble landing cleanly on Fury for most of the fight, but he’d also learned from his mistakes. Fury had been ducking or dodging Wilder’s right hands easily. This time, Wilder sent out the jab and then followed with the right hand — but instead of aiming it for where Fury’s head was, he directed it toward where Fury’s head was, well, headed.

The chopping right hand sent Fury teetering backward, and Wilder followed up with a big left hook that seemed as if it had left Fury in dire straits, if not unconscious, then at least down for the count. Fury was flat on his back, his arms splayed out at his sides

The referee leaned over. Four. Five. Six.

But Fury opened his eyes wide and began to rise. By the count of eight, he was on all fours. And just as the referee was about to reach 10, he was on his feet, somehow standing.

It was a crucial moment for both men. Wilder was indeed down on two of the three judges’ scorecards going into the final round. The scores after 11 rounds were 105-103 for Wilder, 106-102 for Fury, and 105-103 for Fury.

The knockdown and the action that followed meant Wilder won the 12th round with a 10-8 score. That meant the final scores were 115-111 for Wilder (seven rounds to Wilder and five for Fury, with two extra points deducted from Fury for the knockdowns), 114-112 for Fury (eight rounds to Fury, four for Wilder), and 113-113 (seven rounds to Fury, five for Wilder).

It was a split draw. But had Wilder not scored that knockdown, Fury would’ve won by split decision.

Of course, Fury had to get up from that knockdown.

Fury had done everything he could to avoid being in that position in the first place. He’d boxed intelligently for much of the night, using his herky-jerky motion, feints, taunting and good preparation to take Wilder off his game. Wilder’s been thrown off by less capable boxers than Fury, including Artur Szpilka and Gerald Washington. Each of those bouts ended once Wilder was able to land with his fight-changing power.

But Wilder wasn’t landing on Fury. Fury could see that right hand coming and make it miss. Wilder didn’t hit much of anything over the first six rounds, landing just 29 punches out of 209 thrown, a 14 percent connect rate, according to CompuBox. And 20 of those landed shots were jabs, meaning that Wilder had scored with just nine power shots over the span of 18 minutes.

Fury wasn’t exactly landing punches in bunches either — he was 45 of 175 in the first half of the fight, a 26 percent connect rate. And 31 of those landed punches were jabs.

Fury was the one winning the fight, though. His boxing was controlling the action. Wilder at least wisely began to target Fury’s body, since his head was so elusive. Fury was emboldened and landed a few right hands in Round 7.

Wilder was still looking to land a right hand of his own.

It came at last in Round 9, a chopping right to the ear that threw off Fury’s equilibrium, then a left hook, a right, and another left. Fury was down. He got up and battled back, sending a message to Wilder that the fight was far from over. And indeed, Fury went on to win Round 10 and Round 11 on all three judges’ scorecards.

Then came the remarkable events of the 12th round.

That drama — and the suspense of a fight between a huge puncher and the boxer looking to negate him — made for a remarkable evening in a fight where there otherwise wasn’t much of the kind of action that tends to make for lasting memories.

There couldn’t be. Fury was never going to brawl with Wilder. He did exactly what he needed to do. Well, almost.

In the eyes of many unofficial observers, Fury was the winner despite the two knockdowns, banking enough rounds with his boxing to secure the victory. Indeed, it’s hard to understand the judge who gave the first four rounds to Wilder, while his two counterparts gave Round 1 to Wilder but then saw Round 2 through Round 4 as belonging to Fury.

It’s wrong to say that this was a robbery, though. There were rounds in which not much was happening. It was a close fight, one deserving of a rematch.

The question is whether Fury can do it again, and this time stay on his feet. And then there’s the question of whether Wilder can get to Fury sooner, and this time not only put him down, but keep him down.

There’s no guarantee that the fight will happen next, though. And there’s also the matter of Anthony Joshua, the unified titleholder and huge star in the United Kingdom. The thought had been that the winner of Wilder vs. Fury was then going to negotiate for a match with Joshua in 2019.

We’ll see. There’s a lot of money to be made for that fight, big business that could trump the unfinished business between Wilder and Fury.

Wilder is now 40-0-1 with 39 knockouts. Fury, meanwhile, is 27-0-1 with 19 KOs. This marked a remarkable return for Fury, who’d beaten Wladimir Klitschko back in 2015 to become the lineal heavyweight champion, then left the sport due to struggles with substance abuse and depression. He ballooned in weight significantly, dropping the pounds with a comeback earlier this year.

The sport had moved on without Tyson Fury. But as he proved on Saturday night, he can’t be counted out just yet.

Jarrett Hurd Comes Back From Injury With Win; Will Charlo Be Next?

Jarrett Hurd shook off some rust, and a tenacious but overmatched opponent, dropping Jason Welborn for the count with a body shot in the fourth round of their bout on Saturday night.

It’s hard to say how Hurd otherwise looked in his first fight back after eight months away, time off thanks to surgery on his left rotator cuff. After all, Hurd is a notoriously slow starter who picks up steam as the fight goes on. And the success Welborn had in the fight may very well have been because Hurd was allowing that to happen.

“We wanted to see how I worked with the jab and practice with my defense,” Hurd said in the post-fight interview.

Welborn came forward for most of the fight, trying to overwhelm the larger Hurd with pressure and activity, getting him to the ropes and letting go with combinations. Hurd seemed to take everything fine, and then in the fourth he decided he’d had enough — so he swatted the pest.

Hurd was on the receiving end of a flurry from Welborn, then responded with a hard right hand to the body. Welborn dropped to the canvas, remaining there as the referee counted, and rising only once he heard the ref reach “10.”

That was to be expected. Welborn was the clear underdog for a reason. Although he’d lost to recognizable names such as Liam Smith, Matthew Macklin and Frankie Gavin, he’d also been defeated by William Warburton, whose record was an awful 18-96-8. Welborn had recently picked up a pair of split decisions over Tommy Langford, but he still wasn’t expected to be anything more than cannon fodder with a lot of heart and little else. Welborn is now 24-7 with 7 KOs.

Hurd, meanwhile, moves to 23-0 with 16 KOs. He retained his two world titles. Hurd had picked up a vacant belt in early 2017 with a victory over Tony Harrison, retained it with a stoppage of former titleholder Austin Trout, then unified earlier this year with a close decision over Erislandy Lara.

Hurd is considered one of the two best 154-pounders in the world. The other is titleholder Jermell Charlo, who confronted Hurd in the ring after the bout.

“This is easy money right here,” Charlo said.

Hurd says he wants the match, but he also seemed to indicate that Charlo won’t be next, saying he is going to have a fight at home first. He also said that after facing a pair of southpaws in Trout and Lara, he wants to get in the ring with another right-handed opponent before taking on Charlo.

It’s one of many fights that absolutely need to happen in 2019.

David Greisman
About the Author:

David Greisman. David Greisman is an award-winning boxing writer based out of Washington, D.C., who has covered the sport since 2004. He is the senior staff writer and "Fighting Words" columnist for BoxingScene.com and a reporter for The Ring magazine. Greisman is the author of the book "Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing." Follow on Twitter @fightingwords2

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