The city of Riyadh, with its sprawling skyscrapers and historical grandeur, witnessed an anomaly in the boxing world. As spectators from all corners of the globe tuned in, the stage was set for Tyson Fury, the battle-hardened WBC heavyweight champion, to square off against an unlikely adversary: Francis Ngannou, a former UFC heavyweight champion making his maiden foray into the boxing universe. While the majority of analysts predicted a straightforward victory for Fury, the reality that transpired was far from this straightforward expectation.
Francis Ngannou, a dominating presence in UFC, boldly stepped into the boxing ring, challenging not only his opponent but also the boundaries of combat sports. His preparation and adaptability were evident as he showcased a robust boxing technique that many hadn’t anticipated. The crescendo of the bout arrived in the third round when Ngannou unleashed a left hook, a move that sent the seasoned Fury sprawling onto the canvas. For seasoned observers and novices alike, this was an unforeseen twist that redefined the narrative of the bout.
Emerging from the initial shock of the knockdown, Fury, displaying his characteristic resilience, continued the fight. But the scars of the battle were evident on him. A prominent cut adorned his forehead, and a bruise sat under his left eye, testament to the ferocity of Ngannou’s assault. Despite the relentless challenge posed by the newcomer, Fury managed to clinch a split decision victory, although not without its fair share of controversy. The judges’ scores painted a picture of a keenly contested bout: one sided with Ngannou at 95-94, while the other two edged towards Fury with tallies of 96-93 and 95-94.
Let’s begin with Francis Ngannou, a warrior from the UFC domain, boldly stepping onto foreign terrain. His post-fight reflections give us an insight into the mindset of a man willing to push boundaries, no matter the hurdles. “My training camp was only three and a half months, and I came into this with an injury,” Ngannou revealed. But instead of taking shelter behind excuses, he showed a champion’s spirit, asserting, “I will look at what I can do next to improve my game to come back even better. I’m getting ready to come here and take over.”
Tyson Fury, meanwhile, a veteran of the boxing world, was met with unexpected resistance. The WBC heavyweight champion’s candid post-fight assessment speaks volumes: “That definitely wasn’t in the script,” he confessed. “He’s a hell of a fighter and a hell of a lot better boxer than we thought he would be.” Evidently, Ngannou’s strategy, tactics, and formidable punch left an impression on Fury, who went on to call the bout “one of my toughest fights of the last ten years.”
The combat world’s reactions to Fury’s split decision victory were, to put it mildly, polarized. On one hand, the boxing community generally felt that Fury had a narrow edge. On the contrary, the MMA universe, not unexpectedly, rallied behind their representative, Ngannou. Many expressed outrage, feeling that he was unjustly deprived of a win.
Adding a twist to this contentious debate was British former IBO super-middleweight world champion, Chris Eubank Jnr. Breaking away from the conventional boxing stance, Eubank sided with the UFC superstar. Taking to Twitter, he opined, “Watching from ringside, I thought Ngannou won the fight. It was close, but he was the aggressor, landed heavier shots & scored a knockdown.” He didn’t mince words in critiquing Fury, hinting at potential distractions for the boxer, “Too much time filming Netflix specials, not enough time in the gym I’m guessing. Unlucky Francis.”
The immediate aftermath of this bout also brought questions about what lies ahead for Tyson Fury. While he expressed intentions to face Oleksandr Usyk on December 23 in a conversation with Sky Sports, the roadmap seems uncertain. Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren, poured cold water on this plan, suggesting, “I don’t think the date will be announced yet. Tyson has a cut there. There’s no point setting a date yet.”
However, in the ever-dynamic world of boxing, negotiations and deals are struck at breakneck speed. Despite the ambiguity and the potential hindrance posed by Fury’s injury, both Fury and Usyk have signaled their intent to clash for the undisputed world heavyweight title. This encounter, if it materializes as scheduled, is not merely a fight; it’s a historical event. The winner will be crowned as the first undisputed heavyweight champion since the legendary Lennox Lewis in 1999.
The statistics augment the narrative further. Usyk, with a pristine 21-0 record, is a force to reckon with. Fury, buoyed by the win over Ngannou, carries an impressive 34-0-1 to his name. As these two behemoths prepare to lock horns, the stakes are astronomical.
Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou Full Results
• Tyson Fury defeated Francis Ngannou by split decision (heavyweight)
• Fabio Wardley defeated David Adeleye with a R7 TKO (heavyweight)
• Joseph Parker defeated Simon Kean with a R3 KO (heavyweight)
• Arslanbek Makhmudov defeated Junior Anthony Wright with a R1 TKO (heavyweight)
• Moses Itauma defeated Istvan Bernath with a R1 TKO (heavyweight)
• Martin Bakole defeated Carlos Takam with a R4 TKO (heavyweight)
• Jack McGann defeated Roberto Duran Jr with a R2 TKO (super-welterweight)