Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs Juan Francisco Estrada — Round 12
Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury — Round 12
Murat Gassiev vs Yuniel Dorticos — Round 12
Leonardo Zappavigna vs Alex Saucedo — Round 4
Sho Kimura vs Kosei Tanaka — Round 2
Winner: Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder, Round 12
It was the three minute stanza that launched a thousand memes and burned the topless towers of the “Bomb Squad” fan club. Seriously, how could any other round, no matter how intense or action-packed, supplant the final three minutes of Wilder vs Fury in our collective memories? Without a trace of hyperbole, one can assert that it is a round that will resonate in boxing history for years to come.
A year ago, Tyson Fury was battling drug and alcohol addictions, morbid obesity and depression. 12 months and eleven rounds later, the same man was on the verge of scoring arguably boxing’s biggest comeback win since Sugar Ray Leonard dethroned Marvelous Marvin Hagler more than three decades ago, as, round after round, Fury boxed the brakes off the power-punching phenom and WBC heavyweight titlist, Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder.
As the final round began, everyone knew that the defending champion needed to instigate something very dramatic to save his title. And he got what he needed just 40 seconds after the fighters touched gloves when he timed his right hand perfectly, landing it flush to the temple of “The Gypsy King,” before ripping home a follow-up left that instantly sent both the Briton crashing to the floor and the thousands of fans in the Staples Center to their feet.
As Fury lay motionless on the canvas with his eyes closed it appeared an already Herculean effort had come to a violent conclusion, raw power overcoming the talent and skill of Tyson Fury. But then, in a scene that unfolded like something from a Hollywood movie, the Briton opened his eyes and hauled all 257 pounds of himself up off the canvas and even did a little shuffle to convince an incredulous referee he could continue. Still, there remained more than two minutes on the clock and surely Wilder only needed one clean shot to end it.
But Fury, to his everlasting credit, did not clutch and grab and try to kill the clock. Instead, as everyone watching held their breath, and as Wilder launched one huge bomb after another, he stood his ground and fought back. Indeed, to our collective amazement, he got the better of his tormentor in the closing seconds of the match as he bravely let his hands go, even forcing Wilder to back up after landing a right hand-left hook combination of his own.
It was a fitting finale to a tumultuous, highly dramatic heavyweight prizefight and it is this year’s obvious choice for Round of the Year. — Robert Portis