LOS ANGELES • Tyson Fury looked up from the canvas. He had spent the first 11 rounds of Saturday's World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight title fight mostly boxing the ears off Deontay Wilder, frustrating the undefeated American champion with a stubbornly effective jab and deft movement.
The Briton even survived a ninth-round knockdown to roar back in the closing rounds yet, in one moment of shocking violence, a slashing Wilder left hook early in the 12th, all of it came undone.
Fury's eyes slowly rolled back into his head as referee Jack Reiss counted to five while Wilder celebrated in a neutral corner.
At the count of six, he jolted to life and moved to get up. By nine, he was on his feet and convinced Reiss to allow him to continue.
"I had a holy hand upon me tonight," Fury said after the fight. "And it brought me back."
Despite his amazing powers of recovery, he lost his bid to regain the world heavyweight championship belt after Wilder retained his WBC title in a thrilling split draw before a rollicking crowd of 17,698 at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles.
I PROVED ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
I've 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. Anything is possible with the right mindset.
TYSON FURY, on making a comeback from issues outside the ring.
Judge Alejandro Rochin scored the fight 115-111 to Wilder, Robert Tapper had it 114-112 for Fury and Phil Edwards called it 113-113.
But Fury's improbable comeback from a public bout with mental illness, and drug, alcohol and weight issues, left him gratified even as he disputed the result.
"It's not been any secret what I've been doing out of the ring," said Fury, who was pushed to extreme despair during those dark days.
"I've been living like a rock star. That ain't a great thing, by the way, because I've had a very low time doing it.
"I've 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. Anything is possible with the right mindset."
I WILL PROVE I'M THE BEST
I don't know how he got up. I don't know why they didn't start the count earlier. With those two drops, I won the fight. We need to do it again. The rematch, I guarantee I'm going to get him.
DEONTAY WILDER, feeling he had won the match fair and square.
Wilder, who landed 71 of 430 shots compared with 84 of 327 for Fury, expressed incredulity at his opponent's powers of recovery but said he was keen for a rematch, adding: "I don't know how he got up. I don't know why they didn't start the count earlier. With those two drops, I won the fight.
"We need to do it again. We're the best in the world. The respect was mutual. The rematch, I guarantee I'm going to get him."
Fury was also keen to get into a ring with Wilder again and felt he should have won on the night, with the bout having been billed as the prelude to a blockbuster world heavyweight unification title bout next year against fellow unbeaten champion Anthony Joshua.
"One hundred per cent, we'll do the rematch. We're on away soil, I got knocked down twice, but I still believe I won that fight," he said.
"I'm being a total professional here. I went to Germany to fight (Wladimir) Klitschko and I went to America to fight Deontay Wilder.
"That man is a fearsome puncher and I was able to avoid that. God bless America.
"The Gypsy King has returned."