British boxer Tyson Fury has become the world heavyweight champion, beating Wladimir Klitschko by a unanimous decision in Düsseldorf.
Many onlookers called it for Fury, including the ringside teams from Sky and HBO, and those unofficial verdicts were backed up by the judges, who called it 115-112, 115-112, 116-111 in the Briton’s favour, even though he was docked a point for rabbit punches in the 11th round.
PA reports that at the final bell, the 27-year-old raised his arms in triumph and the Ukrainian was noticeably slow to follow suit. After Fury’s win was confirmed, the emotional Mancunian called Jesus “my rock, my salvation” and went on to say: “I can’t believe it,” breaking down in tears.
“It’s hard to come to a foreign country and win,” Fury said. “When I got [the point docked] I thought I had lost.”
“You’re a great champion Vlad, thanks very much for having me,” said Fury, moments after his win was announced.
“It was all fun and games in the buildup, I just wanted to be confident, young and brash.”
He then burst into a rendition of Aerosmith’s hit ballad ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’, dedicating it to his wife and his fans in Ireland, the UK, the United States and Germany.
The buildup to the fight had been colourful and controversial, ranging from Fury’s entrance to a London press conference dressed as Batman to threats by the Briton that he would pull out of the contest altogether due to issues over gloves and the ring canvas. Indeed, the controversy continued right until the first bell as Klitschko apparently had his hands wrapped without a member of Fury’s team watching, as is custom. They therefore demanded the champion cut them off and start again, delaying the start.
Fury’s hopes of victory pinned largely on his height – three inches taller than Klitschko at 6ft 9ins – and his age, at 27 being 12 years younger than the champion.
The unbeaten Fury (24-0,18KOs) had even claimed the bout against the hugely experienced Klitschko (64-3,53KOs) would be “an easy fight”, but he obviously started a heavy underdog. However, with question marks over both fighters’ ability to take a shot, Fury had a decent ’puncher’s chance’.
He looked relaxed as a sizeable travelling army of supporters cheered his walk to the ring. Fury ran across the ring towards Klitschko at the first bell, a bundle of nervous energy. An early right hook nearly landed as the pair fenced with each other.
The second was just as cagey but Fury, feinting constantly, landed a couple of half-decent left hooks which arguably won him the round. Fury, switching stance to southpaw and show-boating, was boxing well without landing much.
Fury landed a right in the fifth but a Klitschko right hand was arguably the best punch of the fight at that stage. Klitschko, meanwhile, suffered a cut on the cheek.
Klitschko, who is used to fighting shorter opponents who he can keep at arm’s length, was looking every one of his 39 years as his ponderous, orthodox style threatened to lose him the fight. As dull as the action was, Fury was boxing beautifully and seemed to be having the time of his life. Klitschko finally opened up with the right hand in the ninth, landing it properly twice. Fury dealt with it well, however, landing a big left hook in return.
The Ukrainian landed a thudding one-two in the 11th as opinion among observers differed as to whom was winning.
Fury began the 12th aggressively and a left hook hurt Klitschko and chants of “Fury, Fury” rang out. Klitschko landed a ferocious right hand again but Fury shook it off well as the fight finally caught fire. Fury was hurt by another, however, but held on for the final bell.
Both men claimed victory but when the scores were announced it was Fury’s moment of glory.