Tyson Fury defeated Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous decision Saturday to end the Ukrainian’s 9 1/2-year reign as heavyweight champion and take his WBA, IBF, and WBO titles at Duesseldorf, Germany.
After a bruising encounter that ended with cuts near both of Klitschko’s eyes, referee Tony Weeks turned it over to the judges’ scorecards.
Cesar Ramos and Raul Caiz Sr. scored it 115-112 each, and Ramon Cerdan had it 116-111 in favor of the undefeated Briton (25-0, 18 knockouts).
Fury, 12 years younger than the 39-year-old Klitschko, taunted and baited the champion at various stages, prompting jeers from fans at the 55,000-seat soccer stadium.
Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs), contesting his 28th title fight, was cautious until attempting a recovery in the final rounds, but suffered his first defeat since April 2004.
“The speed was missing. Reach played a big role. I tried, but it didn’t work,” said Klitschko, who at 6 feet 6 was in the unusual position of facing someone taller. Fury, who stands 6-9, weighed in at 247 pounds and had a 1.1-pound weight advantage.
Klitschko, the premier heavyweight of his era, relinquished the IBF belt he had held since 2006, the WBO title he had owned since 2008 and the WBA crown he’d had since 2011.
The other major belt, the WBC title, was held by Deontay Wilder of the U.S. That was vacated in 2013 by Klitschko’s older brother Vitali, now the mayor of Kiev, Ukraine.
“I’ve said some stupid things,” an emotional Fury said of his pre-fight talk and antics. “Wladimir, you’re a great champion and thanks for having me. It was all fun and games in the buildup.”