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Referee explains why he didn't wave off the fight even when it looked like Fury was out cold

Jack Reiss was praised for the patience with which he dealt with Fury’s knockdown, where many referees would have automatically stopped the fight.

Deontay Wilder celebrates after knocking down Tyson Fury with a vicious two-punch combination.
Deontay Wilder celebrates after knocking down Tyson Fury with a vicious two-punch combination.
Image: Mark J. Terrill

HIGHLY-REGARDED BOXING REFEREE Jack Reiss has explained why didn’t wave off last Saturday’s heavyweight world title contest even when it looked for all the world that Tyson Fury had been obliterated by the nuclear-fisted American Deontay Wilder.

In round 12 of an absorbing battle, the giant Brit was sent crashing to the canvas having swallowed an overhand right-left hook combination.

To the celebratory Wilder, the thousands in attendance and those watching around the world, the fight was as good as over. Reiss, however, opted to give Fury a count instead of wave the fight off immediately.

WILDER vs. FURY Heavyweight Title Fight Jack Reiss administered a count even when it seemed Tyson Fury was done for. Source: Chris Farina

The 30-year-old lineal champion came to his senses and rose from the ashes, confirming to Reiss that he was ready to fight on and drawing a wry smile from his opponent across the ring. Wilder and Fury saw the final bell and each had their hand raised in a split-decision draw.

Many boxing observers noted that had the fight taken place in the UK, it likely would have been stopped as soon as Fury hit the deck in such fashion.

In truth, it likely would have been stopped by most referees around the world. But not Jack Reiss.

“Let me tell ya: if there was earlier, heavier damage and he had been hurt — if there was a history in the fight and he was really getting knocked around — and then he fell like that and hit his head, I would have waived it off!” Reiss told Sirius XM’s boxing show.

But the fight was so close. The magnitude of the fight — a heavyweight championship fight. I’ve always been taught to count a champion out. I wanted to give him every opportunity, so I took my time.

“Not that I stalled the count like these knuckleheads are saying,” Reiss added, referring to accusations that Fury was given a slow-count (a stopwatch disproves this, for what it’s worth).

“I just was patient and I went down to make sure what I was doing was correct,” said Reiss. “I always want to do what’s best for boxing.

“And listen, look at all the talk. Look at the controversy between who they [the fans] thought won, the rematch… There was such a buzz over this, I think it’s best for boxing: let’s see it again.”

After the fight, Fury recalled how Reiss had told him during their pre-fight chat, “‘If you get knocked down, I won’t stop the fight.’

“He said, ‘I’ll tell you to step to the left and step to the right. If you can do that and you tell me you’re alright then I won’t stop the fight’”, Fury added.

“And then when he asked me if I was alright, I said ‘Yes’. He told me to go the left, I went to the left. Then he told me to go to the right, I went to the right.

“He also said, being the most experienced referee in America, he said, ‘If you’re not capable, then I’ll stop the fight. But if you can continue I won’t.”

“How I got back up, I really don’t know,” Fury said of the incident. “I was sound asleep on the floor. All of a sudden, I opened my eyes and I jumped up.”

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