Los Angeles, December 2: Deontay Wilder retained his WBC heavyweight title after an enthralling fight against Tyson Fury in Los Angeles ended as a split-decision draw.
The champion scored two knockdowns in the contest but struggled throughout to find the target against the tricky and tactically astute Fury, who used his superior boxing skills to control proceedings for long spells.
The Briton - who famously dethroned Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 to become the IBF, WBA and WBO champion - was dropped in the ninth but recovered well and appeared on course to win on points heading into the final round at the Staples Center.
However, Fury had to climb off the canvas for a second time in a dramatic finish to proceedings, showing tremendous powers of recovery when initially appearing to be out cold from a right-left combination.
IT'S A DRAW!! What a fight! Much respect to both @BronzeBomber and @Tyson_Fury for bringing a great fight for Boxing Fans around the World!— World Boxing Council (@WBCBoxing) December 2, 2018
Deontay Wilder is still the WBC World Heavyweight Champion!
Design by @HECZAR / WBC #WBC #BoxingInspires #WilderFury #DeontayWilder pic.twitter.com/8HcymGmVPg
The 10-8 round proved crucial in the final reckoning, though. Wilder surprisingly got the nod by a 115-111 margin from one judge, but Fury was awarded the fight 114-110 by another.
A 113-113 draw on the final card confirmed Wilder would remain as champion, disappointing both Fury and the raucous travelling fans who greeted the result with a chorus of boos.