"Gypsy King" Tyson Fury defeats Wilder to become world boxing champion
British boxer Tyson Fury, who proudly espouses his Irish Traveller roots, has defeated the American boxer Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas and deprived him of the World Boxing Council (WBC) world champion belt in the heavyweight boxing category. The match between the two previously undefeated boxers was an unexpectedly unambiguous affair and was brought to a halt by Wilder's trainer in the seventh round, who threw in the towel.
A previous contest between the two rivals ended in a controversial draw in December 2018 in Los Angeles, and Fury was the only boxer whom Wilder did not defeat, even if he did send him to the mat during the final round. The rematch was an altogether different story.
Traveller or Rom?
Travellers represent an originally non-Romani, non-sedentary population who probably existed in the British isles before the arrival of the first Romani people there at the beginning of the 16th century. Since in those days Romani people and Travellers lived similarly, their mutual connections became intensified by marriages between the two groups, and until very recently the non-Roma, non-Traveller population has essentially perceived them to be a homogeneous group. In the United Kingdom, since 2008, the month of June has been marked as Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month (GRTHM), celebrating the diverse ways in which the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities add to the vibrancy of life in the UK and recognizing the varied contributions that these communities have made to British society historically and today.
Wilder's 11th match defending the WBC title and his 44th such bout in the professional ring did not go his way, as Fury was clearly on top from the beginning and scored the 30th victory of his professional career. The 31-year-old Manchester native entered the ring on a throne wearing a crown, as befits his nickname, "Gypsy King", and started off very actively.
During the third and fifth rounds, Wilder was temporarily down. Two rounds later, the American was visibly shaken, bleeding from his ear, and losing stability.
Wilder's trainer threw in the towel, and even though Wilder protested, referee Kenny Bayless closed the match. The victor complimented his defeated opponent.
"He showed he has the heart of a champion. However, the king is back on the throne. People had already written me off. They were looking at my belly, but I promised I'd go for a knockout, and I keep my word," said Fury, closing the show by singing the song "American Pie".
The entire hall sang along with Fury, and Wilder's fans also acknowledged that he deserves the victory. A disappointed Wilder had difficulty reconciling himself to the fact that it was all over so quickly.
"Stuff like this happens. My corner threw in the towel, but I'm a warrior, and I wanted them to let me keep boxing. Even the greatest have to lose, and I'll come back even stronger," Wilder promised the spectators.
Fury returned to the ring in 2018 after two years of personal problems during which he lost all of the championship titles he had won in competition against the Ukrainian boxer Wladimir Klitschko. It is not yet clear what Fury's future program will involve.
A rematch with Wilder is being considered, as is a match with his countryman Anthony Joshua, who holds titles from the International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organization. Fury indicated immediately after the bout that he would not be opposed to a third match against Wilder.
"I anticipate he'll ask for that. It could be at the Raiders stadium in front of 70 000 spectators," Fury said, associating his plans with the new arena that will be opened in Nevada this summer for American football games.
In the sold-out MGM hall where Wilder won this same title five years ago, 17 000 spectators followed the match with Fury, including boxing legends Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson. Both competitors had a minimum of USD 5 million in remuneration guaranteed before the match, but according to the owners of the broadcasting rights, the ESPN company, they made at least five times that.
Fury was born in Manchester, England into a family of Irish Travellers. His father named him Tyson after world champion, Mike Tyson.
The champion is proud of his ethnic origin. "I'm proud of who I am," he has previously told the media.
"My Traveller origins give me the determination and the will to win, to go to the absolute limit. There's no defeat in me. As a Traveller, I never regret anything. I know what I have to do and how to go forward," Fury has previously said.
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