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 two cuts over his right eye, a deep gash on the eyebrow and another on the eyelid immediately after taking a unanimous points decision.
It was not the night – or the fight – Fury envisaged against the relatively-unknown Wallin, making a significant step up after 20 previous unbeaten bouts.
However, the Mancunian was pleased with how he dealt with the cut, sustained in the third round and which caused him problems with blood running into his eye for the remainder of the night.
“It was a good performance. I got a good 12 rounds in,” Fury, who finished the fight with his white shorts stained pink, said just before he was taken away to be stitched up.
“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.
“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.
“He’s a tough guy. I hit him with some chin shots and some body shots and he kept coming. He’s 6ft 6ins and undefeated but tonight I was the man.”
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 to plan Fury is confident there will be plenty of time for him to recover for an anticipated February meeting.
“Deontay Wilder, I want you next, bum. That’s my fourth fight, it has 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.”
There was real concern for a time the cut could have caused the fight to be stopped and then Fury would have lost as referee Tony Week – who called in the doctor towards the end of the sixth round – had ruled it was not caused by a clash of heads.
“Tyson is OK. As you all know he has shown plenty of times before he has a ton of heart and he had to show plenty of that tonight,” said Fury’s trainer Ben Davison.
“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.”
Wallin admits he targeted the problem area but could not find the decisive blow.
“With the cut it was a good punch which opened it and I tried to stay on it and I wish I could have capitalised more on it,” said the Swede, who lost his father to a heart attack in May.
“It was bothering him because the blood was coming down and he was shaking his head to try to get it off.”
With the eye causing him a problem Fury had no idea how long he would be allowed to continue so he tried to step up the attack and landed two big right-handers in the seventh round, one which rocked Wallin back onto the ropes, and a few more punches found their target in the eighth and ninth.
Although the Swede looked to be tiring he managed to grind it out to the final round where, sensing his one final opportunity, landed a big left early and Fury was more than happy to cling onto his opponent in an attempt to avoid further trouble.
But despite Wallin thinking he had done enough there was only winner as Fury claimed a unanimous points victory, 116-112, 117-111, 118-110.
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.