Fury struck a stunning shot to Wilder's left ear early in their fight on February 22 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, ripping open a gash and causing Wilder to lose his footing repeatedly. On Friday, Wilder stated that he would not be removing trainer Mark Breland from his corner because he had thrown in the towel. "I'm not quitting," said Wilder.
The injury bug has also caught up with Fury, as he has been unable to continue fighting due to a hand problem. With no clear winner after 12 rounds, the judges voted unanimously for Wilder, giving him all three points and making him the new champion of the heavyweight division. "I want to thank my team, my family, my fans, and most of all, I want to thank Tyson for being such a great sport about this whole thing. I wish him the best of luck." said Wilder. The win also earned Wilder $5 million.
Wilder entered the fight as the number one contender with the WBC and the WBO. However, both organizations canceled their belts after Fury invaded the ring during the 12th round of the bout without wearing a mouthpiece. This rule was put in place after former champion Muhammad Ali suffered several injuries during his fights and decided not to risk further damage to his brain by not wearing a mouthpiece.
In addition to his career as a boxer, Wilder is also famous for playing basketball at Alabama A&M University before turning pro.
Wilder and Fury fought to a contentious draw in December 2018, with the Briton eventually triumphing in a much-anticipated rematch in February of this year. Wilder's crew threw down the towel in the seventh round of the fight in Las Vegas after the American had been outboxed throughout. The victory saw Fury claim the WBC title he'd previously lost to Wilder, and also marked his return to the ring following a near-fatal car crash in January 2017 that left him with brain damage.
Fury claimed before the first fight with Wilder that he would defeat the American champion, but an injury to his hand forced him to pull out of their match on short notice. He was replaced at the last minute by Hughie Fury, his younger brother who is not only unproven at the highest level of boxing but also has a number of criminal convictions behind him.
The first fight between Wilder and Fury was one of the most exciting sporting events in years, with both boxers giving it everything they had for the full 12 rounds. It wasn't until the final minute of the seventh round that the fight was declared a draw, with many believing that Wilder had won every single round. The controversy surrounding the second fight was that some observers believed that Fury was playing up his injuries in order to secure another shot at Wilder. For his part, Fury denied such claims and said he was just trying to save himself from getting knocked out by the champion.
The scorecards read 115-111 for Wilder, 114-112 for Fury (which was wrongly presented as 114-110), and 113-113 for the bout. The rematch was won by Fury on February 22, 2020, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. He beat Wilder via unanimous decision.
After their first fight, which was seen as a close contest with many people questioning whether or not Fury won, there was some discussion about whether or not the rematch would be called off. But both fighters came back from injuries that forced them to withdraw from their previous fights and this time they went all the way, so to speak. Fury dominated most of the fight, using his power advantage to wear down Wilder and land effective shots. In the end, he outpointed him again to become the new WBC heavyweight champion.
In terms of the actual numbers, Fury won more rounds than Wilder and scored more significant strikes. However, since judges score fights based on how they feel about each round, it's possible that if asked to do so, both men's teams could have argued their cases well enough to get a fourth round. So we'll just have to wait and see what the governing bodies decide when they meet later this year. For now, here are the final scores: 116-112 for Fury, 111-113 for Wilder, and 114-114 even.
Mark Breland, Wilder's co-trainer, threw in the towel during round seven, a decision that Deas questioned during a post-fight news conference that Wilder missed to go to the hospital for treatment on his wounded ear.
"I don't know what else I could have done other than stop the fight," said Wilder, who was defeated by South Africa's Lucas Mathebula via unanimous decision. "My trainer stopped it. He said, 'We've got to take care of your ear.'"
As soon as the bout was halted, Breland walked over to Wilder and examined his ear. After talking with Wilder for a few moments, Breland appeared to make a decision about whether or not to continue fighting.
"It's nothing serious (but) he wants to get checked out at a hospital," said Breland.
Wilder was able to finish the remainder of his workout after going to the hospital, but Breland's action seemed to indicate that further fighting him would be futile. As a result, Wilder had no choice but to accept the decision and quit the fight.
Although Wilder lost, he came away with more money ($3 million vs. Mathebula's $1 million purse).