Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) had tremendous difficulty in finding a rhythm and was largely relegated to throwing single punches, most of which were easily defended by Fury.
Fury was gradually building a convincing lead into the fight's second half as he landed with several straight rights, even when Wilder's occasional successes looked the more hurtful.
And although one judge scored the fight in Fury's favour, Alejandro Rochin had it 115-11 to Wilder while the third official had it as a tie.
Tyson Fury dominated long stretches of his heavyweight title bout against Deontay Wilder with shifty technique and graceful defense.
Both fighters preserved their unbeaten records with the draw, but both thought they had done enough to earn the victory in the bout, which played out before 17,698 fans in downtown Los Angeles.
Lennox Lewis, former world heavyweight champion, said Fury was the clear victor of the bout, empathising with the "Gypsy King" as he referenced his own fight with Evander Holyfield that ended in a controversial draw back in 1999. "We're both warriors but with those two drops I think I won the fight", he said in the ring after the fight. I'm not going to complain. I went to Germany to fight [Wladimir] Klitschko and I've come to America to fight Wilder.
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Fury's jab did a lot of damage and kept Wilder at bay. He got up and withstood Wilder's assault to try to end the fight. And then he came roaring back, stunning Wilder with a right hand as the battled to the final bell. In the post-match conference Fury said a "holy hand" helped him get back on his feet and spoke of overcoming mental health issues and fighting back from suicide.
Although Tyson Fury failed to take the heavyweight WBC crown away from the undefeated American champ Deontay Wilder, he won praise among the multi-million boxing fandom for his "rise from the death" in last round. "It was a great fight and let's do it again". "I came here tonight and I fought my heart out".
"It happened to me and I knew it was going to happen to him".
However the powers he showed to get off the canvas, whilst staring at the lights, in the 12th round were absolutely incredible.
Wilder, who also had Fury on the deck in the ninth round, was adamant he had won. It doesn't matter to me where we do it.
Trainer Dave Coldwell tweeted: "I gave Wilder two 10-8s and one other round".
Former two-weight world champion Andre Ward wrote on Twitter: "A draw, I understand (even tho I feel Fury won by a 2 or 3 rds)".