Tyson Fury: 'I rose like a phoenix from the ashes' during fight against Deontay Wilder

Tyson Fury has said he "rose like a phoenix from the ashes" during his WBC heavyweight title fight against Deontay Wilder at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Speaking the day after the bout, the boxer told well-wishers: "I can't complain, I'm healthy, I'm not dead. I looked at the video this morning, I thought 'that man's dead'. I rose like a phoenix from the ashes."

Fury was denied one of the greatest comebacks in history when his fight against Deontay Wilder was scored a draw.

Despite two heavy knockdowns, a victory greater than even that over Wladimir Klitschko was stopped by harsh scores of 115-111, 112-114 and 113-113, despite him impressively outboxing the champion, who retains his title.

The pair now look set to fight again, possibly in the spring.

"One hundred percent we'll do the rematch," Fury said afterwards. "We are two great champions. Me and this man are the two best heavyweights on the planet."

Fury appeared to be on his way to victory when he came out for the final round, but a minute later he looked totally finished when Wilder put him on his back with a right-left combination.

But somehow the 30-year-old got back on his feet, summoning strength at the critical moment of his comeback from a two-year absence amid bouts of drug abuse and depression.

Speaking about being knocked down twice during the match, the fighter told the media today: "You can make two decisions on that floor - stay down or get up. And as long as there's life left in this body, i'll continue to fight...I get knocked down but I get up again. You're never gonna keep me down!"

Former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis led the condemnation of the judges, with many observers thinking Fury had done enough to win.

Fury refused to criticise the judges, saying: "I'm not going to sit here and complain all night. I thought I won the fight, I'll leave the audience to decide what they thought."

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Fury was first knocked down in the ninth, and again in the 12th when he appeared out cold, but he returned to his feet and recovered enough to survive to the final bell.

He said: "I was never going to be knocked out tonight. I showed good heart to get up. I came here tonight and I fought my heart out."

The match scorecard - a source of controversy for some. Credit: Steve Scott/ITV News

Lewis, whose first fight with Evander Holyfield ended in a controversial draw in March 1999, empathised with Fury but nevertheless praised his fellow Briton for his showing at the Staples Center.

He said: "They need to get some good judges, these judges were terrible.

"It happened to me and I knew it was going to happen to him. Everybody could see who won. Boxing definitely won and Tyson Fury won the fight to me."

Former WBC Champion Frank Bruno tweeted that it was "daylight robbery".

If Wilder's explosive power already posed a significant threat, the biggest question surrounding Fury's chances was whether he had truly recovered from a period in which he admitted to taking cocaine, becoming suicidal and lived to such excess he reached an estimated 27 stone.

The answer ultimately became clear when, even as their fight progressed into the dangerous final rounds, he somehow performed with the same sharpness that inspired his memorable victory over Klitschko.

An affair that was expected to be cagey instead produced 12 thrilling rounds that made a rematch inevitable even before the scores were announced.

In front of a 17,698-strong attendance, both fighters entertained from the opening bell when they both threw threatening punches and Wilder landed a hurtful right as they briefly fought toe-to-toe.

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Demonstrating his confidence with early periods of showboating, Fury often became the more consistent aggressor and while resisting occasional powerful punches he also made the world's most dangerous puncher swing and miss.

The champion began to fall short with jabs, and watched Fury comfortably take a left uppercut as he pursued the knockout while his left eye began to swell.

Fury was gradually building a convincing lead into the fight's second half as he landed with several straight rights, even when Wilder's occasional successes looked the more hurtful.

The final four were always going to be the most threatening when he tired and his reflexes may have waned, and so it gradually proved when after taking a left-right combination, a right hand to the back of the head knocked him to the canvas.

Fury and Wilder look set to fight again. Credit: PA

Fury had twice previously recovered from knockdowns to remain undefeated, and this time the 30-year-old fought back and stuck out his tongue in a sign of his self-belief.

Further success in the 10th round when he landed with both lefts and rights and hurt Wilder, 33, again gave him the momentum when it became increasingly clear the champion was running out of time.

He resiliently then retained his title when, despite his exhaustion, a big right sent Fury tumbling and a further left secured so heavy a knockdown his admirable challenge seemed over.

The Briton instead survived as the tired Wilder struggled to force another attack and the stoppage, meaning an immediate rematch will be next.

It was after the unprecedented high of his victory over Klitschko that Fury fell into the darkest period of his life. This performance showed he has convincingly recovered from that, and he may even again prove the best heavyweight in the world.