Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury experienced a rough third round as he was dropped by former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, who was making his professional boxing debut.
In an exciting contest, Fury managed to secure a split decision victory with scores of 96-93, 95-94, and 94-95. However, Ngannou’s performance clearly impressed the crowd at the luxurious Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as they chanted his name during the final minutes of the 10th round.
Ngannou showcased his skills by delivering a powerful left hook in the third round, proving himself to be a formidable heavyweight contender despite being a 14-1 underdog.
Yahoo Sports scored the fight 95-94 in favor of Fury.
Ngannou’s prowess in the boxing ring was evident, comparable to recent opponents faced by Fury like Derek Chisora and Dillian Whyte. Unlike many MMA fighters who struggle in boxing matches, Ngannou appeared comfortable and confident, just as he does in the Octagon.
“I’m feeling great, I’m feeling happy,” expressed Ngannou. “I feel fantastic, even though the result didn’t go my way.”
Prior to facing Ngannou, Fury had already sealed a deal for a bout against Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight title on Dec. 23. Ngannou managed to drop Fury with a powerful left hook in the third round while causing cuts on his forehead and bloodied nose and mouth.
Fury, weighing 277.2 pounds, seemed visibly fatigued as the fight progressed.
“Francis was a good fighter, and he landed some solid punches,” acknowledged Fury. “He’s a formidable opponent.”
Fury mentioned his willingness to grant Ngannou a rematch but revealed his plan to face Usyk before considering a second encounter.
Ngannou demonstrated his potential as a consistent competitor in the heavyweight division, despite having areas to improve upon. Inspired by former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, Ngannou’s childhood dream of becoming a boxer has translated into a testament of his resilience and strength.
Having signed with the Professional Fighter’s League, Ngannou is expected to compete in that league next year. However, his impact in the world of boxing is undeniable.
Sarah Foster is your guide to the world of Mixed Martial Arts. With a deep understanding of MMA’s intricacies and a passion for the sport, she offers comprehensive coverage of MMA events, fighter profiles, and in-depth analysis of fights. Sarah’s commitment to the octagon ensures that readers stay engaged with the latest developments in the MMA world.