Upset like never before, Britain’s Tyson Fury narrowly won his long-awaited boxing bout against mixed martial arts star Francis Ngannou, who has lived up to his reputation as a great boxer, on Saturday in Riyadh.
Fury, the heavy favorite as WBC heavyweight champion, was declared the winner by split decision against Ngannou, who was competing in his first boxing match at the age of 37. But the Cameroonian, who sent the Briton to the mat in the third round, almost achieved one of the greatest achievements in boxing history!
The event was above all profitable, and had previously provided questionable sporting interest, as the fighting seemed lopsided. It was ultimately much closer than expected, as Ngannou showed himself to be tough and hardworking against the ghost of Tyson Fury.
Despite his defeat, the Cameroonian, a former champion of the UFC, the prestigious mixed martial arts league, comes out stronger. Above all, he won the respect of the boxing world.
Conversely, Fury’s performance can only be described as embarrassing, even worrying, as the Briton is expected to return to the ring in December for a boxing unification fight against Ukrainian giant Oleksandr Usyk.
This certainly wasn’t planned in the script. “Francis is a hell of a fighter, a hell of a puncher,” admitted the ‘Gypsy King’, who spent the week describing his opponent as a ‘good big sausage’.
“I respect him a lot. He didn’t come forward, he stayed back and waited for me. He gave me probably my hardest fight in ten years,” he continued.
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The fight has generated tremendous interest due to the level of champions, who are considered the current two men in combat sports.
He had to decide who was the “badest man on the planet,” but at the end of the evening, it still seemed difficult to award that title to one of the two men.
In any case, the fight attracted a host of stars to the Saudi capital, the new stronghold of boxing, which witnessed big things by building a special area for the occasion.
The ring emerged from the ground just before 1 a.m. local time, and we had to wait until 1:30 a.m. to witness the arrival of the fighters.
Boxing gloves on his fists For the first time in his career, Ngannou entered the stage alongside the legend Mike Tyson, who advised him on this occasion, while Tyson Fury, eccentric as usual, appeared to the tune of the song “Pretty Woman.”
Among the spectators are big names in boxing, from Sugar Ray Leonard to Larry Holmes or Evander Holyfield, or in football, Cristiano Ronaldo, Figo, the Brazilian Ronaldo… but also music stars like Eminem or Kanye West.
In the front row, Conor McGregor, who fought a similar fight six years ago against boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, terrified the appraisers. At that time, logic was respected, with the American winning by stopping the referee.
“It was a good fight”
This time the fight lasted until the end of ten rounds and that in itself was a victory for Ngannou. The decision to award Fury the winner is sure to spark controversy in the coming days.
“I don’t know how close we were, but I won and that’s what happened. (But) we have to be fair to Francis, (…) It was a good fight. »
Throughout the engagement, Ngannou was serious and diligent, while Fury never seemed to initiate hostilities. The Cameroonian caused a small earthquake during the third round by sending Fury to the mat with a powerful left hook.
The Brit got up but struggled to find the exchange key. As expected, Ngannou saw a decline in power at the end of the fight and was less oppressive, which is perhaps what tipped the scales of the judges.
What’s next for the two men? “I’m going home, I’ve been in training camp for 12 weeks. I’m going to take a long break and rest and see what the future holds,” Fury said.
Ngannou should pick up on the theme of his MMA career, if only for his evening’s performance to leave him wanting more.
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