Tyson Fury boxed brilliantly on his long-awaited return to world title action but was ultimately thwarted by Deontay Wilder on the cards.
‘The Gypsy King’ challenged for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title three years on from dethroning Wladimir Klitschko.
Losing a whopping ten stone after battling depression, Fury seemed like he’d never been away.
An awesome display of skills to frustrate Wilder for the majority of the contest were taken away by two powerful knockdowns.
As predicted pre-fight, Fury would have to pick himself up off the floor to go the distance. Down in the ninth, Fury wasn’t hurt too badly and made it through as Wilder punched himself out.
Wilder took a two-round breather before going again the twelfth. A huge combination put Fury on the canvas heavy and it looked for all the world to be over.
Fury’s head jarred back, but as referee Jack Reiss put fingers in his face, the 30 year-old suddenly came to his senses.
It was an enthralling ending to a tactical battle, which Fury seemed to have just shaded.
On the cards, Wilder took it 115-111, whilst Fury got it 114-110 (corrected to 114-112). The third judge, Phil Edwards of Fury’s homeland, scored it a 113-113 draw.
A second fight wasn’t ratified immediately after the bout, although WBN was informed during the build-up that a clause exists in the contract.
Jarrett Hurd halted a spirited challenge by Jason Welborn with a peach of a body shot in the fourth.
A notoriously slow starter, Hurd gave away the first round before finding his rhythm in the second and third.
Welborn was disheartened by the size difference and seemed to feel every solid shot with maximum effect.
When the final blow came from the three-belt super-welterweight king, Welborn was simply unable to get to his feet for the count of ten.
Luis Ortiz labored to a triumph over Travis Kauffman in a bout the Cuban could have ended at will.
Content to stay in first gear, Ortiz picked Kauffman off in the fourth and eighth to drop the American.
Clearing finding his urgency in the ninth, Ortiz stepped it up and forced the stoppage in the final round of ten.
‘King Kong’ will now be hoping to land another world title shot in 2019.
British heavyweight Joe Joyce began the Pay-Per-View portion of the card with a considerable bang.
With little care for defense, Joyce went for Joe Hanks with bad intentions from the get-go.
Taking a solid combination himself which reddened his nose, Joyce jumped on Hanks and stunned him.
Expecting Hanks to go down, Joyce backed away but as the American stayed on his feet, the Olympic silver medallist finished the job.
Hanks didn’t beat the count and was all over the place after a devastating left-hand ending.
Marsellos Wilder, younger brother of Deontay, looked on his way to third early KO when knocking David Damore through the ropes in the second.
The cruiserweight had spent just over five minutes in the ring thus far in his short career, but was taken the full four rounds despite the bright start.
Damore heard the final bell but wasn’t really in contention for victory as Wilder won 40-35 three times.
In a one-sided affair, former world title challenger Julian Williams took out Francisco Castro in two rounds.
Williams is warming up for bigger fights to come and wasn’t really tested by Castro while it lasted.
Super bantamweight Jesse Rodriguez was never in any danger against Josue Morales winning every round of six.
Moving to 8-0, Rodriguez used his jab effectively and opened up with eye-catching combinations.
Judges carded 60-54 across the board.
Kicking off the show was headliner Tyson Fury’s friend Isaac Lowe.
The super-featherweight, who passed on a British title shot to be part of the card, twice dropped and eventually stopped Lucas Baez in the fifth round.
Lowe remains undefeated on 16-0-3.
Also on the bill, former world champion Robert Guerrero defeated and out-classed Adam Mate in the second stanza.