Tyson Fury had planned to celebrate his victory over Otto Wallin with a night out on the famous Las Vegas Strip but instead spent it in hospital after coming through a bloody 12-round battle.
The 31-year-old former world heavyweight champion was taken to the University Medical Center of South Nevada with a gaping gash over his right eye and another smaller one on the eyelid immediately after his unanimous points decision win.
It was not the end to the night – or the fight – Fury envisaged against the relatively-unknown Wallin, making a significant step up after 20 previous unbeaten bouts.
The Mancunian, wearing a sombrero and poncho, played to the ‘home’ crowd on Mexican Independence Day weekend by making his way to the ring on a wheeled platform accompanied by a mariachi band and stilt walkers waving red, white and green flags.
It was virtually the best the T-Mobile Arena saw of Fury as he was hampered by blood running into his eye for nine rounds, boxing with the fear he could be stopped at any moment and with it would go his 30-fight unbeaten record as the cut was not caused by a clash of heads.
“I got caught on the eye and that changed the fight. For the majority I could not see out of the eye. Then there was a clash of heads and I got cut again,” Fury, who finished the fight with his white shorts stained pink, said just before he was taken away to be stitched up, missing his post-fight press conference.
“I haven’t seen the cut, it feels quite bad, but I’m the Gypsy Warrior. It’s all heart and determination. If I can keep going, I will keep going.”
The fight was a stop-gap before an expected rematch against Deontay Wilder after the pair’s controversial draw last December.
And although it did not go exactly to plan Fury is confident there will be plenty of recovery time ahead of an anticipated February meeting.
“Deontay Wilder, I want you next, bum. That’s put me in good stead for the big dosser, February 22nd,” he added.
Asked about his immediate plans he said: “Let the cut heal, have some time to relax with the family.”
Referee Tony Week called in the doctor towards the end of the sixth round and made several trips to Fury’s corner to ask them to deal with the cut, their response being to smear it in huge blobs of Vaseline and hope for the best.
It was a tactic which did not appear to have any sustainability as the grease immediately dropped off and Fury was forced to continually wipe away the blood.
Fury knew he had to try to finish it quickly and landed two big right-handers in the seventh, one which rocked Wallin back onto the ropes, and more punches found their target in the next two rounds as his opponent looked to be tiring.
Wallin gave it one final shot, connecting with one swinging left early in the last round, but it was not enough to prevent Fury claiming a unanimous 116-112, 117-111, 118-110 victory.
“Tyson is OK. We all know Tyson has the boxing ability and skill set but sometimes you have to be able to fight as well and Tyson was able to show he could do that,” said Fury’s trainer Ben Davison in the fighter’s absence for media duties.
Wallin admits he targeted Fury’s eye but could not find the decisive blow.
“I tried to stay on it and I wish I could have capitalised more,” said the Swede, who lost his father to a heart attack in May.”
Earlier in the evening Morecambe’s Isaac Lowe successfully defended his WBC international featherweight title, extending his unbeaten record, after a hard-fought points win over Ruben Garcia Hernandez.