In a breathless bout featuring five knockdowns, Wilder touched down first and looked to be hanging on at the end of the third round but he turned this trilogy fight on its head in the fourth.
Fury twice had to get back to his feet but weathered the storm and gradually wore down Wilder, who was back down in the 10th before referee Russell Mora immediately waved off the fight when the American went down face first in the 11th.
This was the third fight between the pair and will go down as an all-time classic in boxing’s blue riband division, with both Fury and Wilder forced to show tremendous heart and courage in the face of adversity.
Few gave Wilder any chance of reversing the result that saw him lose his title 20 months ago, when he was left bloodied and broken following a savage beating from Fury, who was making the first defence of that crown.
The writing looked to be on the wall when Wilder went down early on despite a decent start although he showed his champion pedigree by storming back into the clash.
Fury had never before been knocked down twice in a round but he, too, showed tremendous grit before taking a foothold in the contest around the halfway stage, with Wilder looking exhausted thereafter.
The Alabaman still remained a threat and had brief moments of success but he looked every inch the beaten man when Fury closed the show after one minute and 10 seconds of the penultimate round.
Fury said in the ring afterwards: “It was a great fight tonight, worthy of the best trilogies.
“I will not make any excuses, Wilder is a top fighter, he gave me a run for my money. I always say I am the best fighter in the world and he is the second best.
“Don’t ever doubt me. When the chips are down I can always deliver.”