Tyson Fury, the WBC & lineal heavyweight boxing champion, managed to bounce back from an early knockdown, claiming a split decision win in 10 rounds over Francis Ngannou, the lineal MMA heavyweight champion, this past Saturday night at Riyadh’s illustrious Kingdom Arena.
The drama began right off the bat. Fury, with a burst of energy, aimed a swift right at Ngannou. However, Ngannou’s unique blend of power and unconventional style forced Fury to adjust. Just as Fury seemed to find his groove, he was sent to the canvas by a counter left hook courtesy of Ngannou.
Undeterred, Fury rose, meeting a charged-up Ngannou head-on. With a series of solid rights, The Gypsy King subdued the MMA sensation’s advance. While Fury did absorb several shots from Ngannou, especially in the eighth round, he swiftly reverted to his range play, aiming to clinch the final rounds.
After almost a year’s hiatus, Fury marked his comeback with scores of 96-93 and 95-94 in his favor, effectively nullifying one 95-94 score that favored Ngannou.
Fury remarked, “That wasn’t expected. He’s an incredible fighter. Strong with a powerful punch, and he’s even better at boxing than we ever imagined. He fights in an unconventional style, and he can throw a solid punch. I held great respect for him, both before and after our fight.
“He had a unique style, staying back rather than advancing, waiting for me to throw before countering. He’s talented. This has been one of my most challenging fights in the past decade.
“Such situations come with the territory in boxing. I got hit at the back of my head. However, my legs were fine, and I wasn’t dazed. I recovered quickly. I resumed my strategy. It’s hard to gauge how close the fight was, but I emerged victorious, and that’s what counts.”
Ngannou responded, “I’m open to a rematch, and I believe I can outperform him. This was my debut in boxing, and it was an enlightening journey. I won’t make excuses; I acknowledge I fell short. But now, I’ll train with even more dedication, drawing from this experience. I promise to return stronger.
“I was admittedly anxious at the start. Venturing into a new sport was intimidating. But now, I’m convinced I’m cut out for this.