Deontay Wilder has suggested he was carrying an injury going into his defeat by Tyson Fury in Las Vegas.
Wilder lost his WBC heavyweight crown as Fury produced a scintillating performance to stun the American fighter.
Fourteen months on from his controversial draw with Wilder – when he outboxed the champion only for two knockdowns to deny him the famous green belt – Fury had vowed to take the fight to the American.
He did just that, flooring the champion twice and completely dominating the action before Wilder’s corner threw the towel in to save the despairing, bewildered champion from more punishment.
And in his post-fight interview moments after losing, Wilder accepted defeat – but then went on to hint he was injured in the build-up to the fight.
Wilder said: “I’m doing good. Things like this happen. The best man won on the night. My coach threw in the towel but I’m ready to go out on my shield.
“I had a lot of things go on coming into this fight but it is what it is. My leg was already weak coming in due to other things. But I make no excuses tonight.
“I just wish my corner would have let me go out on my shield, I’m a warrior. But he [Fury] did what he did and there’s no excuses.”
Indeed, Wilder was on the back foot from the very first round and ultimately suffered a deserved defeat.
A right hand which landed near Wilder’s left ear saw the champion go down heavily in the third and in the fifth and a right to the head and left hook to the body had a tired Wilder down again.
He was up quickly but tired as Fury looked to bring about a conclusive finish. Wilder was in a sorry state by the start of the seventh.
Another left hook had him hurt and all he could offer was his trademark, lazy, looping right hand. Fury pinned him in the corner and the towel came in to anoint a new world heavyweight champion.