LAS VEGAS — Tyson Fury was carried into the ring on a chariot built into a golden throne. He left as the undisputed king of heavyweight boxing.
Fury captured the WBC heavyweight championship by dominating Deontay Wilder until referee Kenny Bayless stopped their pay-per-view bout in the seventh round Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
It really wasn’t much of a contest. The Englishman controlled the fight from the outset, dropping Wilder in the third and fifth rounds before finishing him at 1:39 of the seventh.
Wilder spent the entire night on wobbly legs and never had a chance to unleash his powerful right hand. As Fury landed the last of his 58 power punches, Wilder’s corner prompted Bayless to stop the fight.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) was brilliant. He established his jab early, hurt Wilder when he had the chance, and never let him recover. Fury first won the heavyweight title when he defeated Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, but was stripped of the crown for substance abuse. He looked even better Saturday night.
“The king has returned,” Fury said before entertaining a sold-out crowd of mostly Fury fans by belting out a rendition of “American Pie.”
He also credited Wilder, who lost for the first time in his career.
“He came here and showed the heart of a champion,” Fury said. “He’s a warrior. He will be back and he’ll be champion again.”
Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) was making his 11th defense of the title he captured in 2015.
“Things like this happen,” Wilder said. “I wanted to go out on my shield. But it is what it is. I make no excuses. Even the greatest came back. That’s just part of it. I’ll come back stronger next time around.”
The packed crowd came to witness what had been hyped as the best heavyweight showdown in decades. It was to settle unfinished business from their first meeting on Dec. 1, 2018, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Wilder dropped Fury in the ninth and 12th rounds of that fight but had to settle for a split draw. Fury thought he had won enough rounds to win, and proclaimed himself in better condition for the rematch despite weighing almost 17 pounds heavier at 273 pounds.
Wilder, at 231, was also heavier than the first fight as both men sought to gain more muscle and power. Fury had vowed to be more aggressive in the rematch, predicting a second-round knockout. Wilder’s game plan was obvious: land the devastating right hand that almost finished Fury in the first fight.
Fury made a dramatic ring entrance, sitting on a golden throne that was carried by several women. Wilder entered second dressed like something out of a Star Wars movie. Once the theatrics were over, the real drama began.
Fury pressed the action in the first round, establishing his jab and forcing Wilder to fight off his back foot. Wilder made an effort to touch Fury’s body, but had trouble working around Fury’s long reach.
With his beefed up 6-foot-9 frame, Fury looked huge and used his size to muscle Wilder in the clinches. Fury landed a hard right hand to Wilder’s head early in the third round and another right hand midway through the round.
Those punches softened Wilder and when Fury unleashed a left-right combination, Wilder was on the canvas for the first time in their two fights.
Wilder’s legs looked weak and wobbly and in the fifth and he was on his back again from a right hand to the ribs from Fury. Wilder managed to get up, but it seemed just a matter of time. The champion had nothing left.
When Fury wasn’t punching him, the Englishman was leaning on him with all his weight adding more stress to Wilder’s unstable body. At one point, Fury licked the blood off Wilder’s neck in delight. By the sixth round, Fury was in full control, stalking his wounded prey. He pinned Wilder to the ropes and hammered him with right hands to the head and uppercuts.
Wilder stumbled out for the seventh round, looking as if he was ready to make his last stand. But Fury caught Wilder with a left hook and continued his offensive assault to the point where Wilder’s corner had to save their fighter.