Tyson Fury retained his WBC heavyweight title but only after rising from the canvas twice before knocking out Deontay Wilder in the 11th round of a spellbinding contest at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
This third fight between the pair was unquestionably their most riveting with five knockdowns in total, Wilder the first to go over after being put on his back in the face of some punishing blows from his great rival.
Wilder not only survived the third round but turned the fight on its head in the next session with his famed right hand decking Fury twice and this time it was the Briton holding on to preserve his unbeaten record.
But the exertions seemed to take their toll on Wilder, and Fury regained the upper hand around the scheduled halfway stage, evening up the knockdowns in the 10th before a flurry in the penultimate round brought an end to the bout.
Fury said in the ring afterwards: “It was a great fight, worthy of the best trilogies. I will not make any excuses, Wilder is a top fighter, he gave me a run for my money.
“I always say I am the best fighter in the world and he is the second best. Don’t ever doubt me. When the chips are down I can always deliver.”
Few gave Wilder any chance of reversing the result that saw him lose his title 20 months ago, when he was left bloodied and broken following a savage beating from Fury, who was making the first defence of that crown.