By Keith Idec
Deontay Wilder has repeatedly applauded Tyson Fury for getting off the canvas in the 12th round and finishing their fight Saturday night.
When Wilder drilled Fury with a right-left combination about 35 seconds into the final round, Wilder assumed Fury wouldn’t be able to get up. The unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion celebrated as if he expected what had been a difficult fight to end at that telling moment.
By the time referee Jack Reiss’ count got to six, however, Fury was on his way up to his feet. Several seconds later, the action resumed, Fury fended off Wilder by holding and landing a few hard punches of his own, and made it to the final bell.
Their 12-round fight ended in a split draw because one judge, Canada’s Robert Tapper, scored it for Fury (114-112), another judge, California’s Alejandro Rochin, credited Wilder with a win (115-111) and a third judge, England’s Phil Edwards, scored the action even (113-113).
Upon further reflection, Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) doesn’t think Reiss should’ve even afforded Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) the opportunity to get off the canvas for the second time in four rounds. Wilder also criticized the amount of time it took Reiss to count once he picked up the count from a ringside official.
Replays indicate Reiss picked up the count in a timely manner. Fury was given an additional few seconds to continue once he got up, but only because Reiss was required to conduct a balance test after a knockdown and Reiss had to wipe off Fury’s gloves before the action could resume.
“We seen what he could do, what he was able to do, especially with that get-up,” Wilder said about Fury surviving that 12th-round knockdown. “That still surprises me. I seen this guy’s eyes roll slowly in the back of his head. And many people felt that should’ve been waved off. Nine out of 10 refs would’ve waved that off. I’ve seen many times where they’ve done waved that off. Look at my brother, Malik Scott, when he fought Dereck Chisora. Malik was on his knees at nine, stood up at 10 and they waved it off immediately. I felt like the count was very slow. I felt like there was a lot of delays in there.
“But I’m not gonna complain, because we put the heavyweight division on notice, and we did it with me and Fury. It’s not about no other guys or nothing like that. Me and Fury did it like true champions. We came together, we conversated amongst each other and we got this fight done, without involving all the other extra stuff. Because we are the best in the division and we wanted to prove to each other who is the best in the heavyweight division. We came in and did that, and it was amazing, and I’m ready to do it again.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.