Tyson Fury backed up his trash talk by flooring Braun Strowman with a big right hand and winning his WWE debut by count-out at the Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia.
The boxer was expected to be inactive over the next few months to allow deep cuts sustained during September’s points win over Otto Wallin to heal ahead of next year’s rematch with Deontay Wilder.
But Fury, the lineal heavyweight champion of the world, was tempted back into the ring in a bid to settle his new-found feud with former strongman Strowman.
The pair’s dislike for each other started with a ringside row on Smackdown, followed by a mass brawl a few days later on Raw, before Strowman injured Fury’s ankle in a surprise training attack last week.
Those incidents fuelled the hatred ahead of their eagerly-anticipated contest, with Fury pledging to knock his opponent out and Strowman insisting the Englishman would “Get These Hands”.
And it was Fury who delivered on his words by connecting cleanly with the face of Strowman, who could not make it back into the ring in time before the referee’s 10-count ended.
After a series of pyrotechnics that kept Strowman waiting, Fury walked to the ring in a traditional Saudi Arabian thobe and keffiyeh headdress to the Isley Brothers’ song ‘It’s your thing’.
‘The Gypsy King’ unveiled a casual look of black shorts, vest and trainers plus the accustomed knee and elbow pads.
The pair had a long stare and after Fury shouted “let’s go”, the grappling started.
Fury displayed his boxing skills by turning around Strowman on the ropes and letting go with a couple of punches to the body, but the 2018 Greatest Royal Rumble winner soon dominated.
Strowman, who weighed in nine stones heavier than his opponent, floored Fury with a drop kick and started to dish out plenty of punishment in the form of kicks, elbows and headbutts.
‘The Monster Among Men’ flew into a ring pole to buy Fury some time and the Englishman responded with a big right hand and a boot to the face, with Strowman narrowly surviving a two-count.
In scenes reminiscent to his controversial draw against American Wilder last year, Fury sat up Undertaker-like in the centre of the ring after another big connection, followed by a body shot and two shoulder charges.
But Fury regrouped and, as Strowman was getting back to his feet on the edge of the ring, sent him flying with a knockout blow which his opponent could not recover from.
Fury celebrated by lifting both hands in the air, having extended his unbeaten streak in the ring, and what followed next could pave the way for a rematch in the future.
Strowman did not take too kindly to the defeat and, much to the surprise of Fury who had appeared to have taken to wrestling like a duck to water, bodyslammed him to the canvas and stormed off backstage.