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Controversial stalemate

Los Angeles, Sunday @PeopleSport11

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury battled to a controversial split-decision draw in their WBC heavyweight title showdown Saturday, triggering immediate demands from both camps for a rematch.

Wilder, who retains his WBC belt after 12 rounds of pulsating action, had Fury on the canvas twice at the Staples Center in Los Angeles but was unable to deliver the knockout he had promised his fans.

The three judges were divided on the outcome, with one scoring it 115-111 for Wilder, another 114-112 for Fury and the third 113-113.

But while the scoring drew criticism, with many arguing that Fury had done enough to win, there was a marked absence of animosity after the bout.

Knock out

Instead, the main talking point from a thrilling contest was Fury’s miraculous recovery after being knocked down by Wilder in the 12th round.

The 30-year-old Briton, who had boxed skillfully to frustrate and outpoint the aggressive but inaccurate Wilder, looked to have finally been beaten when the American champion uncorked a savage right-left combination that sent him sprawling to the floor.

Wilder celebrated as if he had won and members of his entourage moved to climb into the ring, only to stare in disbelief as Fury somehow cleared his head and got to his feet.

“I really thought I had him out of there,” Wilder said afterwards. “I saw the eyes in his head rolling, I saw the ref checking on him and I thought, ‘It’s over’. I don’t know how he got up,” the 33-year-old added.

Last win

Fury, who won the unified world title from Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 only to lose his belts as he battled depression, alcohol and drug problems, was equally baffled.

“I don’t know. I had a holy hand upon me tonight and brought me back. I’ve got good fighting spirit “ Fury said. While both men felt they had done enough to win the fight, both accepted the result.

“I’m not going to sit here and complain, and scream robbery or whatever. I thought I won the fight. I’ll leave the audience to make up their mind,” Fury said. Wilder, who also had Fury on the deck in the ninth round, was adamant he had won. -AFP

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