DUSSELDORF, Germany -- Tyson Fury ushered in a new era of heavyweight boxing with a shock unanimous points decision over Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday.
It was a tireless performance by Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) who deserved the judges' decisions of 115-112, 115-112 and 116-111 after out-boxing the Ukrainian and then celebrated by singing to his wife in the crowd from the ring at the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf.
Fury lifted the WBA, IBF and WBO titles to became Britain's first world heavyweight champion since Londoner David Haye lost the WBA version of the world title to Klitschko on points in 2011.
With victory in front of 55,000 fans, Fury fulfilled his promise of ending Klitschko's reign of nine years and six months -- the second longest of a world heavyweight champion.
Only Joe Louis (11 years 8 months) has been world heavyweight champion longer, but Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) looked in danger early on with Fury pressing the fight.
It was 39-year-old Klitschko's first loss in 11 years, in his 19th title defence, after starting the fight as an overwhelming favourite. It might not have been a KO finish, but it is still an upset to rank alongside James 'Buster' Douglas beating Mike Tyson, Hasim Rahman KO'ing Lennox Lewis, Cassius Clay shocking Sonny Liston and Louis losing to Max Schmeling.
Most expected Klitschko -- a massive star in Germany where he has been based most of his career -- to jab his way to another comfortable points win. But Fury, 27, found an answer to Dr Steelhammer's safety-first approach behind a ramrod jab: his movement, aggression and boxing skills made it uncomfortable for Klitschko from the start.
Britain now has its 11th world champion with Fury's astonishing win -- but he will have to meet Klitschko again in the spring due to a rematch clause in the fight contract.
Fury's camp threatened to pull out on the afternoon of the fight because they felt the canvas was too thick and spongy, but the row was resolved when one of the three layers of foam was removed. There was even another row over the hand wraps that delayed the fight from starting.
Fury had also amused in the build-up to the fight, dressing up as Batman at a press conference, head-butting a water melon and singing to Klitschko earlier this week.
He made a nuisance of himself in the first couple rounds as well, before switching to southpaw in the third round in a bid to unsettle Klitschko. The early rounds were close and Fury was still bouncing on his toes at the halfway point, feinting and circling the ring.
Fury, who earned around £3 million for the bout, opened a cut on Klitschko's left cheek in the fifth and then dropped a big right hand on the Ukrainian. Klitschko was unable to get a stranglehold on the fight through his strategy of jab, hold and grab because of Fury's fleet-footed movement.
With blood streaming down his cheek, Klitschko found himself under real pressure in the seventh as Fury kept scoring with jabs. Fury landed a solid jab at the start of the eighth and Klitschko looked worried that he was unable to land any solid blows of his own in another close round.
When Dr Steelhammer did land a big right in an exciting ninth round, Fury just grinned and shook his head before returning fire later moments later. Fury looked loose and unloaded a slick combination early in the 10th round and it seemed he was pulling away on points.
Fury cut Klitschko over the right eye with viscious left hook in the 11th but towards the end of the round the Briton was docked a point for hitting on the back of the head.
Fearing a stitch-up on points, Fury went for the KO in the last round and got nailed by a right and a left as Klitschko took advantage of openings. It was a thrilling finish and Fury had to absorb a big left to the jaw to avoid going down.
Klitschko's three previous defeats in his 19-year professional career had all come by knockout but even the judges could not save him Germany.