LAS VEGAS — Tyson Fury is a heavyweight champion once again, dominating Deontay Wilder in their title rematch Saturday night before Wilder’s corner threw in the towel in the seventh round.
A boxer in their first fight, Fury went on the attack in the rematch and knocked Wilder down twice before a flurry of punches in the seventh prompted his corner to call an end to the highly anticipated rematch.
“The king has returned to his throne,’’ proclaimed Fury, an Englishman whose previous reign as champion was cut short partly because of his abuse of drugs and alcohol.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 knockouts) dropped Wilder in the third round with a right hand that seemed to take the legs out of the champion.
Fury knocked the American down again in the fifth round, this time with a left hand to the body.
The end came at 1:39 of the seventh round when referee Kenny Bayless stopped the fight after Wilder’s corner threw in the towel as he was getting pummeled in a neutral corner.
It was the first loss for Wilder in 44 fights, and it came in the 11th defense of the title he won in 2015.
“Even the greatest have lost and come back,” Wilder said. “I make no excuses. This is what big-time boxing is all about.”
The two fighters are under contract for a third fight, though Wilder could opt out of it as the loser. If the fight happens, Fury would get the better part of a 60-40 purse bid.
Fury won every round on The Associated Press scorecard and was in total command of the fight when it ended.
Ringside punch stats demonstrated Fury’s dominance, showing him beating Wilder 82-34 in total punches. Fury landed 58 power punches, compared with 18 for Wilder.
The rematch drew a sellout crowd at MGM Grand Garden Arena that set a heavyweight record of $16.9 million for the live gate and was expected to do well on pay-per-view. Both fighters were guaranteed $5 million but could make $40 million apiece.