Tyson Fury has claimed he nearly broke his ankle in the third round of his victory over Deontay Wilder.
In one of the great heavyweight fights in recent times, Fury recorded a sensational eleventh round stoppage in Las Vegas.
But he was faced with adversity, having been forced to recover from a double-knockdown to retain his status as lineal champion.
And the 'Gypsy King' could have been forced to retire in the early stages, after he claims to have "nearly" suffered an ankle injury.
"When I hit him with an uppercut, bang in the first (third) round, dropped him, I nearly broke my ankle," Fury told IFL TV. "I went over on my ankle, my ankle's hurt.
"He would go, It was only a matter of time before he went. He went down first and he went down last and that's all she wrote. I went to say well done to him and he wouldn't have any of it, the man's a sore loser and a proper s***house.
"That's a true heart of a cowardly man, when he won't shake a better man's hand. Not once but three times I've beaten him."
The spectacle that unfolded at the T-Mobile Arena was one of the most entertaining in recent years in the blue-ribbon division.
Wilder went down first in the third, before responding with a double-knockdown which left Fury behind on the judges scorecards at halfway.
But the champion was quick to recover and impose his controlling style, before teeing up a huge right hand to end the fight in the penultimate stanza.
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And a victory appeared to set up a potential mandatory challenge from domestic rival Dillian Whyte in his next contest.
But he may first spend time at home with his family, after his newborn Athena has now made a full recovery from illness.
From the other side of the trilogy battle, Wilder is currently in hospital after the destructive nature of the stoppage.
And he has now broken his silence, with his career now at a crossroads after his redemption mission came up short.
“I did my best, but it wasn’t good enough tonight. I’m not sure what happened," Wilder said post-fight. "I know that in training he did certain things, and I also knew that he didn’t come in at 277 pounds to be a ballet dancer. He came to lean on me, try to rough me up and he succeeded.”
Fury was disappointed with the American's reaction to defeat, as the fiery feud continued beyond the final bell.
But Wilder's bitter reaction to his comments appeared to be the final exchange, with the pair now set to go their separate ways.
The popular British fighter could have been looking at a showdown with Joshua now, having initially missed out on a £75 million payday.
But 'AJ' was outboxed by Oleksandr Usyk, and now faces a revenge mission of his own next year.
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