Tyson Fury produced a masterclass as he dismantled Deontay Wilder to stop the American in round seven of their rematch in Las Vegas and claim the WBC world heavyweight title.
Fury dominated from the opening bell at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, dropping Wilder several times before the American was put out of his misery in the seventh as his corner threw in the towel.
It was a first defeat for the Bronze Bomber as he lost the WBC title he has held since 2015, while Fury extended his unbeaten record after what was the greatest performance of the British boxer’s career.
In the sequel to the pair’s thrilling split-decision draw in December of 2018, lineal world champion Fury had promised he would go after the American more aggressively than in the first fight after making a switch of trainers and seeing Ben Davison replaced by Sugar Hill Steward.
The Gypsy King made good on that promise from the outset by comprehensively outboxing and overpowering Wilder.
The American was on the retreat from the early stages in Las Vegas, managing to land a straight right inside the first minute as a reminder of his power but otherwise being bossed by Fury, who was all twitches and head movement as he peppered Wilder with solid shots to take the opening round.
The pair ended round two clinched on the ropes as Fury continued to dominate, keeping Wilder at range with his jab and soaking up any shots on the rare occasion the American slipped through his guard.
Fury stepped things up with a big round three, scoring a knockdown with a left-right combination which clipped the back of Wilder’s head, whille Fury’s left jab regularly found a home as Wilder looked increasingly bewildered.
Fury stalked Wilder in the fourth round as the American went to the canvas again, although referee Kenny Bayless appeared to put it down to a slip.
Fury caught Wilder with a big right hand early in round five as there seemed a long way back for the champion, and Fury duly dropped Wilder again midway through the round with a savage left to the body.
Although Wilder survived the count he looked out on his feet as Fury circled for the finish, despite the Manchester fighter having a point deducted for hitting after the break.
Fury finished the round swinging but Wilder survived, traipsing back to his corner as he contemplated the loss of the WBC title he had previously defended 10 times.
Into the sixth round and Fury started where he left off, with Wilder backed against the ropes as the Brit sought the finish.
Fury continued to be the aggressor as Wilder clinged on for dear life, but when the American staggered into the center of the ring for the seventh it looked merely a matter of time before his fate was sealed.
That was the case soon after as Wilder was backed against the ropes and taking heavy punishment, forcing the towel to come in from Wilder’s corner.
Wilder claimed after the fight that he had wanted to “go out on his shield,” but it was clear the decision from his corner was the correct one as their man shipped increasingly brutal punishment.
Fury showed his class by praising Wilder for showing the “heart of a champion” by getting up from the knockdowns, but proclaimed that “the king has returned to the top of the throne.”
The victory capped a remarkable return to the top of the sport from Fury, 31, who plumbed the depths of despair after defeating Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 to win the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, only to lose them all out of the ring as he battled drink, drugs and mental health issues.
Wilder will push for a trilogy fight with Fury, but after such a dismantling in Las Vegas the clamour will now grow for Fury to face fellow Brit Anthony Joshua – the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO champion – in a potential unification bout for the ages.