Tyson Fury left no doubt about his claim to the WBC heavyweight championship belt on Saturday night.
Fury leveled a series of blows against Deontay Wilder, twice sending him to the canvas before Wilder's corner finally threw in the towel in Round 7 during the highly touted match at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It was the second meeting between the fighters, whose first match ended in a split decision in 2018.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 knockouts) raised both arms into the air after the match was ended. He had a 42-pound advantage over Wilder, but he did not sacrifice anything in the way of speed or agility as he worked his opponent toward the ropes and unleashed violent punches.
Wilder (42-1-1, 41 knockouts) went down in Round 3 and Round 5 but avoided a knockout blow. His legs turned wobbly as the fight progressed, but he was upset with his corner after their decision to throw in the towel.
The fight reportedly garnered a record number of bets for a heavyweight bout, eclipsing the previous record of $16.86 million in bets that came in on the Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield fight in 1999. Fury spent much of the past few months as a favorite to win, but the odds swung toward Wilder in recent days after large-scale bets reportedly came in on him.
Both fighters made lavish entrances into the arena, but it was Fury who stuck around afterward.
"The king has returned," Fury announced to the crowd, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Then, Fury led his fans in a rendition of Don McLean's song, "American Pie."
The fight also was part spectacle, including one sequence in which Fury appeared to lick blood off Wilder's head and neck. Fury said afterward that he felt in control but struggled to put away Wilder.
"He showed the heart of a champion," Fury said to reporters. "I hit him with a clean right hand and dropped it, and he got right back up and kept battling. He will be back. He will be champion again."
Wilder said he could have gone deeper into the fight.
"It definitely wasn't my night," he said to reporters. "My coaches threw in the towel. I was ready to go more.
"I wish my corner would have let me went out on my shield. I'm a warrior. That's what I do."
Almost immediately after the end of the fight, speculation started about whether the boxers might agree to meet for a third match.