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Tyson Fury was flat on his back in the boxing ring at Staples Center Saturday night with his eyes closed, his 6-foot-9 body motionless and his medical condition in question.

His bald head had bounced off the canvas after Deontay Wilder, the 6-foot-7 WBC heavyweight champion, hit Fury in the face with a straight right followed by a left hook.

It was early in the 12th and final round, and Wilder shimmied his shoulders in celebration with referee Jack Reiss about halfway through his 10-count when Fury, the British heavyweight, did something wholly unexpected.

He got up.

To the astonishment of Wilder, a crowd of 17,698 and just about everybody else — including, it turned out, Fury himself.

After barely beating the 10-count and by staying on his feet until the final bell, Fury saved himself from defeat in bout that ended in a split-decision draw and with a mystifying question: How did Fury do it?

Fury’s eyes appeared to be closed for about five seconds before he climbed to his feet in the 12th round, and he had survived a knockdown in the ninth round, too.

“How did I get up from the knockdowns? I don’t know,’’ Fury said. “I had a holy hand upon me tonight and brought me back.’’

Wilder sounded equally bewildered about the 12th-round dramatics.

“I literally seen this man’s eyes roll into the back of his head,’’ he said. “Only God knows how he got back up.’’

Tyson Fury relaxing in the locker room
Tyson Fury relaxing in the locker room
But Fury found another explanation. During his post-fight news conference, when addressing the 12th-round knockdown in greater detail, he reminded people that he’s been in more dire situations. Like on the brink of suicide.

“…when I sit here and I say I was on the brink of suicide, I mean suicide,’’ Fury said.

A year ago, Fury said, he weighed 400 pounds. He had been out of boxing since November 2015, when he pulled a stunning upset of longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko. After his victory, Fury struggled with the abuse of drugs and alcohol and suffered from mental health issues.

A 2 1/2-year hiatus from the boxing ring ended in June. He won the first of two tuneup fights that improved his record to 27-0 and set him up to fight Wilder, who before Saturday was 40-0 with 39 knockouts.

At the weigh-in on Friday, Wilder wore a black mask and weighed at 212.5 pounds. Fury appropriately arrived unmasked — having shared during prefight interviews details of his substance abuse and mental health issues — and weighed 256.5 pounds.

That meant in a year, Fury had dropped almost 150 pounds. He looked remarkably agile during the Showtime pay-per-view broadcast and provided most of the early entertainment with his showboating, clowning and skillful out-boxing as Wilder swung and missed again and again.…

Eventually, Wilder’s thunderous punches landed. But Fury suggested he felt something even stronger when he was on his back with his eyes closed in the 12th round.

“I fought back from suicide and mental health and depression and anxiety and I wanted more than anything tonight to show the world that it can be done,’’ he said. “Anything is possible with the right mindset. If you believe in yourself and you sacrifice and you dedicate with the right help. …

“And when I was down, I wasn’t just down on the canvas in round 12 for me and my family. I was representing everybody around the world. I had to get back up. I couldn’t stay down. I had to get up and show that you can continue, that you can carry on and anything is possible.’’

Source: Josh Peter

www.sports24ghana.com

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