Deontay Wilder has finally paid tribute to Tyson Fury in his first public statement since losing their WBC heavyweight title showdown in Las Vegas.
Fury came through a bruising third contest between the pair at the T-Mobile Arena, eventually delivering an 11th-round knockout of the American to end a bout which saw each man sent to the canvas.
Following the defeat, Wilder had initially refused to acknowledge his rival's triumph, saying he had no respect for the British heavyweight, with plenty of bad blood between the rival camps over their trilogy.
Wilder, however, has now accepted the outcome, and vowed to return to the ring a stronger person.
"Wow, what a hell of a night!" Wilder wrote on social media.
"I would like to first and foremost thank God for allowing me to give the world another part of me that's driven with passion and determination.
"I would like to thank my team and my fans for sticking by my side through this long process.
"I would be lying if I said that I wasn't disappointed in the outcome, but after reflecting on my journey, I now see that what God wanted me to experience is far greater than what I expected to happen.
"We didn't get the win, but a wise man once said the victories are within the lessons. I've learned that sometimes you have to lose to win.
"Although, I wanted the win I enjoyed seeing the fans win even more. Hopefully, I proved that I am a true Warrior and a true King in this sport.
"Hopefully, we proved that no matter how hard you get hit with trials and tribulations you can always pick yourself up to live and fight again for what you believe in.
"Last but not least I would like to congratulate @gypsyking101 for his victory and thank you for the great historical memories that will last forever."
Fury replied to Wilder's post by tweeting: "The greatest trilogy of all time."
Following his victory, Fury said he had left no doubt he is the best heavyweight of the era, his record now standing at 31-0-1, with 22 KOs.
Meanwhile, Wilder will undergo surgery on his right hand.
Co-manager Shelly Finkel said Wilder was having the procedure on his right hand due to a broken bone.
"He's still in pain with the hand and his equilibrium was off somewhere around the third round, that's why his balance wasn't the same," Finkel told ESPN.
Australian Associated Press