Wilder v Fury: I represent mental health sufferers around world, says British boxer

By Luke ReddyBBC Sport in Los Angeles
Wilder v Fury: Tyson Fury sings 'American Pie' in news conference

Tyson Fury said he had to get up from the canvas to "represent" mental health sufferers during the 12th round of his epic draw with Deontay Wilder.

The 30-year-old was three minutes away from capturing Wilder's WBC world heavyweight title when his rival floored him with a crushing combination at Los Angeles' Staples Center.

But after making the bell in just his third fight following 30 months away from the sport with depression, he claimed he should have won and said his display showed vulnerable people that "anything is possible".

During a news conference - at which he insisted the media sing the Don McLean song 'American Pie' - he also said that unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua would have been "nailed" by Wilder.

Tyson Fury
Fury just beat the referee's count following his 12th-round knockdown

Fury made a point of questioning one judge's 115-111 award of the contest to Wilder but said he said he would not "scream robbery".

He took the bout 114-112 with a second judge, meaning the 113-113 draw on the final card was key - and came down to Wilder's brutal knockdown of his opponent in the final round, which left Fury briefly motionless on the canvas.

Wilder later complained the referee's count was slow.

"I am not a special human being," said Fury. "I am a normal man. I wasn't just down for me and my family, I was representing people with mental health problems around the world. I had to continue and carry on.

"I fought back from thinking about suicide, mental health, depression, anxiety. I wanted more than anything to show the world it can be done. Anything is possible with the right mindset."

Wilder added: "I thought I had him out of there. Right hand, followed with a left hook. I saw his eyes roll into the back of his head. I was like 'it's over'. Only God knows how he got back up."

Fury shared the theme of divine intervention. "I had holy hands upon me," he said. "I was brought back."

'Referee hesitated' - Wilder

Fury's promoter Frank Warren was adamant the Briton "won well" and stressed they would want any rematch in the UK.

The pair joked if it would take place at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium - Warren's club of choice - or Old Trafford, Manchester United's stadium in the city in which Fury was born.

Wilder meanwhile made clear he did not think he was behind on points in the fight.

The champion felt the fact he put Fury down in the ninth and 12th rounds was key and questioned the officiating in the final three minutes.

"I felt it was close but that the two knockdowns put me over the top," said the American, 33.

"I have questions circulating with the count. Fury was laid out and they hesitated a bit.

"The magic part of it is being able to beat one another up and at the end saying 'I love you, bro'.

"The gameplan was to go to the body a bit more. I lost the plan as I was trying to get him out of there. I know when I try to get them out of there the plan goes. That's a lesson I learned a long time ago but I went back to it. My emotions got the better of me."

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury
Wilder said he thought he had won after knocking Fury down in the final round

Will Wilder pick Joshua over Fury?

Drawn-out negotiations between Wilder and unified world champion Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn have so far failed to deliver a historic bout with all four world titles on the line.

Wilder's promoter Shelly Finkel said he would see whether Hearn kept his promise to call him the day after the Fury bout but added a rematch was "a stronger fight and probably more logical to happen".

"Deontay knows the next time he fights Fury he will be better - I don't know if Fury can be," added Finkel.

Fury too said he was "sure" the undefeated pair would "put on a great show in the second fight".

And he revealed he had sent a text message to Wilder apologising that fellow Briton Joshua, the IBF, WBA and WBO champion, had failed to agree to fight the American.

"I text him saying, sorry what's happened - offer me the fight and I will not turn it down," said Fury.

"It's no secret that Joshua did not want this fight. It was for a reason. Wilder is the most fierce puncher in heavyweight boxing history. I felt that. No wonder AJ didn't want that right hand. He can't move like me so he'd have been nailed."

Tyson Fury
Fury has suggested that a rematch could take place at Manchester United's Old Trafford ground