Tyson Fury controversially defeated MMA fighter Francis Ngannou by a split decision in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday night despite being floored by the Cameroonian in the third round.
A bruised and relieved Tyson Fury was awarded the victory despite an inspired performance from Ngannou, who was making his professional boxing debut against arguably the greatest boxer on the planet right now and who has been in the sport for 25 years.
Ngannou defied the odds by bringing Fury through ten competitive rounds and landing the only knockdown of the fight when he countered an over-confident surge from Fury with a sharp left hook that left the Mancunian bewildered and on his backside.
Fury failed to recover convincingly and despite outpunching the former UFC heavyweight champion, fans watching felt that the Gypsy King had not done enough to warrant victory.Embed from Getty Images
One judge believed that Ngannou had won the fight 95-94. A second had the exact same score in Fury’s favour while the third official’s card returned a 96-93 margin for the WBC world heavyweight champion.
In this 10-round non-title fight Ngannou tarnished the reputation of the champion by going the distance and forcing Fury to escape with virtually a one-point victory on the scorecards. Ngannou certainly deserves his flowers as nobody in either the boxing or MMA world could foresee how valiantly he would perform.
Then again, Ngannou has been dealing with adversity all his life- travelling through five countries on his journey to France, escaping police and border control officers whilst being forced to live in forests and eat food from bins as he dreamed of making a career in combat sports. Just look at him now.
As for Fury, the result of this flimsy win has put his planned undisputed world title fight with Oleksandr Uysk- planned for December 23- in serious doubt.Embed from Getty Images
The Ukrainian, who holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, stepped into the ring afterwards to meet Fury and to make clear his readiness to fight on the agreed date.
Fury gave off the impression that he was still adamant on fighting Uysk but his promoter, Frank Warren, stressed that it will be difficult for Fury to recover for the fight which is two months away after such a bruising encounter with Ngannou.
The left hook that floored Fury left a nasty-looking swell around the Briton’s eye and now recovery time is a necessity before taking on the hefty challenge of Uysk.