“I think the public will want it,” said Wilder’s trainer, Jay Deas. “I think he’ll want it.” Fury’s camp, he added, “will want it.”
In the week preceding the bout, Fury, 31, promised a bigger, more aggressive version of the tactical boxer who had unified the heavyweight title before retiring in 2016, and who had won 27 straight bouts before his 2018 draw against Wilder.
On Friday afternoon, he weighed in at 273 pounds, 16.5 more than in the first Wilder bout and 42 more than Wilder, who scaled a sculpted 231 pounds. On Saturday night, Fury paired his new strength and assertiveness with the impeccable timing that has long made him so difficult to defeat. He controlled distance with a stiff jab, and used it to set up power punches, like the right hand to the ear that dropped Wilder in Round 3 and the left hook to the body that floored him in Round 5.
He also used his new weight to lean on Wilder and to grapple with him in clinches. By Round 4, Kenny Bayless, the referee, looked as tired as either fighter, and in Round 5 he deducted a point from Fury for his constant roughhousing.
But all those tactics succeeded in sapping Wilder’s strength and blunting the punching power that helped him salvage a draw in the first bout. Early in the seventh round, a tired, bruised and bleeding Wilder retreated to a corner and tried to shield himself from another Fury salvo. When a right cross from Fury crashed into the left side of Wilder’s swollen face, an assistant trainer, Mark Breland, tossed a white towel into the ring, prompting Bayless to stop the fight.
“Everybody knows I’m a master slick boxer, but that didn’t work last time,” Fury told reporters Saturday night. “We worked our game plan in the ring, and put it into practice in the ring.”
Afterward, Wilder and Deas said they disagreed with Breland’s decision.
“I just wish my corner would have let me go out on my shield,” Wilder said immediately after the fight. “I’m a warrior. He had a great performance and we will be back stronger.”