Tyson Fury paid tribute to Deontay Wilder following his emphatic victory in Saturday’s heavyweight clash.
The Gypsy King snatched the American’s WBC belt with a dazzling display in Las Vegas at the second time of asking following their controversial draw in December 2018.
Wilder was floored twice before his team threw in the towel to spare their man more misery at the hands of a ruthless Fury.
However, the Brit sent a message to his dejected opponent in the ring after the fight as the Bronze Bomber considers whether to trigger the rematch clause in the contract.
Fury said: “Big shout-out to Deontay Wilder, he came here tonight, he manned up and really did show the heart of a champion.
“I hit him with a clean right hand and dropped him and he got back up and battled on into round seven. He is a warrior, he will be back, he will be a champion again.
“But I will say, the king has returned to the top.”
Wilder’s defeat was the first of his 44-fight professional career.
The only other bout the 34-year-old has not won was the first meeting with Fury in 2018, which ended in a controversial draw after Wilder was out-boxed by his opponent.
Wilder said: “I make no excuses tonight, I got a lot of complications.
“I will come back and be stronger the next time around.
“This is what big-time boxing is all about, the best must fight the best. I appreciate all the fans that came out tonight and supported the show.”
Fury went into the fight a stone heavier than he had done the first time the pair met and issued an impressive response to his critics.
He told BT Sport: “Last time I was over-trained and I was too light. I’m a man of my word, I told the world I was going for a knockout – we trained for a knockout.
“People always write me off, they look at my belly and my bald head. I’ve had my problems, but he was fighting the real Gypsy King this time.”
Wilder was unhappy that the towel had come in when it did.
He told BT Sport: “I just wish my corner would have let me go out on my shield. I’m a warrior. Even the greatest have lost and came back, that is just part of it.”