Referee Reiss rejects Fury long-count claims

Jack Reiss has explained his decision not to stop Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury's heavyweight title fight in the 12th round and allow the latter the chance to beat the count after a suffering a savage knockdown.

Fury, having already been knocked down in the ninth, looked to have seen his challenge ended when he was floored with a brutal right-left combination.

The Briton looked to have no hope of getting to his feet but unbelievably rose off the canvas, to the astonishment of Wilder and the Staples Center crowd, to survive the count and hang on until the end.

Despite having largely dictated the fight, Fury did not earn the reward of winning Wilder's WBC title as the match was controversially called a draw.

The judging and Reiss' officiating in the final round have been called into question in the aftermath.

However, Reiss defended his refereeing, telling SiriusXM Boxing: "I was evaluating these guys throughout the whole fight [and] in the 12th round, they'd boxed their hearts out, threw a lot of punches but there wasn't a lot of heavy damage taken by either guy.

"They both moved into the 12th round tired but not extremely hurt. When [Fury] got hit and he went down hard, that was an unbelievable knockdown.

"Two things went through my mind - number one always count a champion out and number two give this guy the benefit of the doubt and let's see how he still is.

"So when I went down to count... not only did I get down, I scooted in so he could see my hand and hear my voice.

"I said three, four... he was grimacing, his eyes and his cheeks, he was grimacing so I knew he was awake and then when I said five his eyes popped open like I startled him.

"He rolled over and got up and said 'I'm okay! Jack I'm okay' or whatever he said.

"I said, 'Do you want to continue?', he said 'Yes' and put his arms on my shoulders. I pushed his arms off and said walk over there, come back to me and show me you're okay. He did and we let it go."

Responding to accusations he gave Fury a longer count than usual, Reiss said: "The 10 count doesn't mean 10 seconds.

"It is the referee's opportunity to make sure the fighter who is hurt can intelligently defend himself because you're about to let a guy come hurtling across the ring and finish this guy.

"People started making them walk in a straight line, any drunk can walk in straight line. Doctors taught us it is hard to hide things are off when they have to change direction. That's what I was doing."

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