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Challenger Tyson Fury beats Vladimir Klitschko to take heavyweight boxing titles

British heavyweight Tyson Fury has been crowned heavyweight champion in Düsseldorf on a unanimous points decision. In a huge boxing upset, Fury has vowed to be the most "charismatic champion since Muhammad Ali."

The two heavyweights squared up in front of 50,000 fans at the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf on Saturday - home to Bundesliga Second Division side Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Fury ended the Ukrainian's 9-year reign as world chamption with the judges giving him 116-111, 115-112 and 115-112 advantages. The 27-year-old dominated the fight in western Germany, which saw Klitschko also lose his WBA, IBF and minor WBO and IBO belts.

"I worked for six months for this in the gym, it's a dream come true," Fury said in a ringside interview after the fight. Fury lost 32 kilos in five months to get in shape for the fight.

"This is that start of a new era. I'll be the most charismatic champion since Muhammad Ali," Fury said and commented about Klitschko "He's been a great champion, but every good dog has its day."

The former British, Irish, European and Commonwealth champion went into the ring with a perfect record on Saturday, having won all 24 of his professional fights, 18 of them with knockouts.

On winning the fight, the Manchester-born boxer burst into song, dedicating a spontanteous rendition of Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" to his wife, Paris.

Following his defeat, Klitschko gave credit to his challenger: "The speed was missing, for a big man he is incredibly agile," the Ukrainian said. "I didn't put the punches in and could not find the right key to open up the fight," Klitschko said but added that he would "definitely" use the option of a rematch, which is in the fight contract.

Klitschko's brother Vitali, the Ukrainian politician and former professional boxer, who currently serves as Mayor of Kiev was at the fight. He too acknowledged Fury's speed and his "unusual" style, but after thanking the fans, he said his brother would be back.

With 27 world title fights and 23 successful defenses to his name, 39-year-old Klitschko had not been beaten since 2004 when he lost to Lamon Brewster.

Cancellation threat

There were issues even before the first bell was heard on Saturday. The fight was briefly delayed after Fury's camp discovered that Klitschko had had his fists taped without an observer being present, which violates boxing rules.

Earlier in the day, Fury also threatened to pull out of the match after filing a complaint to the British Boxing Board of Control and the fight commissioner over the depth of the ring's canvas.

Organizers agreed to remove a layer of foam after the British challenger claimed that at five inches thick, ring's canvas was too soft and could pose a health and safety issue.

ksb/jm (Reuters, AFP)

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