Deontay Wilder retains heavyweight crown after Fury thriller ends in draw

December 1, 2018 Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury after the fight. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Los Angeles, CA, USA Dec 02, 2018, 11.47 AM (IST)

American Deontay Wilder retained his WBC heavyweight title after a split decision draw with Britain's Tyson Fury at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, leaving both fighters talking up a rematch.

The hard-hitting Wilder knocked Fury down twice but the Briton controlled much of the fight behind his long jab and precise footwork while managing to mostly avoid the American's powerful overhand right.

One judge scored the fight 115-111 to Wilder, another 114-112 to Fury and the third had it 113-113.

Both fighters preserved their unbeaten records with the draw, but both thought they had done enough to earn the victory in the bout, which played out before 17,698 fans in downtown Los Angeles.

"I think with the two knockdowns I definitely won the fight," said Wilder (40-0-1), adding that he started slow and rushed his punches in a sub-par performance.

"We poured our hearts out tonight. We're both warriors but with those two drops I think I won the fight," he said in the ring after the fight.

"When I rush my punches like that I'm never accurate.

"The rematch I guarantee I'm going to get him."

Former world champion Fury (27-0-1), in just his third bout since a two-and-a-half year absence from the sport following mental health issues and a failed drug test, was convinced he should have walked away with the title.

"We’re on away soil, I got knocked down twice, but I still believe I won that fight," he said.

"That man is a fearsome puncher and I was able to avoid that.

"The world knows I won the fight."

After exchanging harsh words in the leadup to the fight, both men were full of praise for each other following the final bell and were eager for a rematch.

"One hundred percent we'll do the rematch," Fury said.

"We are two great champions. Me and this man are the two best heavyweights on the planet."

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The three judges were divided on the outcome, with one scoring it 115-111 for Wilder, another 114-110 for Fury and the third 113-113.