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Francis Ngannou drops WBC champion Tyson Fury during third round of boxing debut

Francis Ngannou knocks down Tyson Fury during the Heavyweight fight between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou at Boulevard Hall

WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury received the shock of his life when he was dropped in the third round of an underdog’s boxing debut at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, yesterday. Many reacted, including unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.


The match was the most anticipated combat sports event of the year yet, as it attracted fans of different disciplines to see what would happen between the world’s best MMA artist and the boxer many think should be The Face of Boxing. Francis Ngannou was expected to run out of energy before the fifth round, with most experienced enthusiasts predicting that Tyson Fury was going to give the world good entertainment and later knockout the Cameroonian former UFC champion.

A shock gripped most people in the third round of the match when a good left hook from Francis Ngannou dropped Tyson Fury on the canvas. Ngannou proceeded to taunt the fallen champion by dancing as some boxers do at such times, with the referee holding the African debutant back slightly.

There have been accusations against Tyson Fury before the match, saying that the world champion cheated with his gloves while fighting both former WBC heavyweight king Deontay Wilder and another heavyweight, Derek Chisora. Ngannou disclosed his concern just before the match, asking that the officials make sure Tyson Fury used the appropriate gloves or let both of them box bare-fisted.

People were talking about the glove rumour on X (formerly Twitter) after Ngannou’s scary but encouraging performance.

Street Poet: This brings light to the wilder fights .. where was fury’s Almighty power he suddenly had against wilder? Could it be he was forced to use regulated gloves this fight?

Some even said that boxing gloves were not hurtful to Ngannou.

Pythagoras In Boots: No wonder Francis didn’t flinch to any of the body shots. Tank. Need to let Bernard Hopkins have a go at him. Even in MMA, with smaller gloves and with potential of more powerful strikes (kicks), he seems happy to take them to the body.

Unified heavyweight champion and Fury’s next opponent, Oleksandr Usyk, was caught on camera surprised by the knockdown as he watched from ringside, after initially being seen in the ring as Fury’s next dance partner.

‘He’s a world champion in MMA with a hard punch, but doesn’t mean I’m not surprised,’ admitted Usyk the Ukrainian. ‘Maybe Tyson Fury did not take him serious, ‘ah it’s an MMA fighter, blah, blah, blah’, I don’t know.

‘Of course the knock down was a surprise. When he got knocked down I went ‘wow, wow, wow, Francis be careful please’. I say ‘Tyson ‘jab, jab, move, jab’.’

Tyson Fury proceeded to win the bout by split decision, against what a lot of boxing fans and pundits expected. It seemed Mike Tyson did a nice job in his training of the MMA artist. Here is what Fury said after the match:

‘That definitely wasn’t in the script,’ he said. ‘Francis is a hell of a fighter, strong, a big puncher and a lot better boxer than we all thought he would ever be.’

‘He’s a very awkward man, a good puncher and I respect him a lot. He wasn’t coming forward, standing back and waiting for me to land my punches and then trying to counter – he’s a good fighter.

‘He’s given me probably one of my toughest fights in the last ten years.’

‘(The knockdown was) nothing. it’s a part of boxing. I got caught behind the head again. My legs didn’t hurt or anything and I got back up and I was fine.

‘It was what it was, I got back to my boxing. I don’t know how close it was but I got the win and that’s what it is. I’ve been out the ring a long time again. 11 months since my last fight and you can see it in here. Ring rust.

‘But no excuses, Francis is a good fighter and he caught me with some good punches so fair play to him. He’s cut me above the eye. I don’t know if it was a left hook or headbutt, I’m not sure but it was a good rough fight. ‘

While Ngannou said, ‘My training camp was only three and a half months and I came into this with an injury. But I don’t want to give excuses. 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.

Francis Ngannou punches Tyson Fury during the Heavyweight fight between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou punches Tyson Fury during the Heavyweight fight between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou

Others that reacted included former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

Matchroom Sports promoter, Eddie Hearn (in an interview): ‘I’m baffled really. I can’t believe it. Firstly I feel Ngannou was robbed. He scored the knockdown and nobody actually did anything in the fight, the fight was a stinker, but Ngannou won the fight.

‘You’re talking about a guy who has never boxed before and respect to him because he was better than I thought but Fury looked like he had never put on a pair of boxing gloves before. I don’t know whether he’s shot, he didn’t train, he’s thinking about the Usyk fight, he was absolutely awful.’

‘Let AJ go in there an end his career please or Ngannou has earned the right for a big fight, let AJ go in and knock Ngannou out inside three rounds not a problem. Forget about Fury-Usyk, dead fight, nobody is interested in that fight at all. Ngannou won thee fight by two rounds.

‘I don’t know if his punch resistance is still there, if the Wilder fight took something out of him. I’ve told you before AJ beats Tyson Fury every day of the week, he will knock him out inside six rounds. Scrap everything and just make Fury against AJ now and I’m telling you AJ will beat him comfortably and stop him and finish his career. Usyk-Fury is a mismatch and nobody wants to see it.’

Francis Ngannou speaks to fans after defeat in the Heavyweight fight between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou speaks to fans after defeat in the Heavyweight fight between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou

Lennox Lewis: The lion can’t let the shark come into the jungle and nearly beat him. Ngannou’s stock is up. Fury’s stock is down in a luckluster win for Fury. #FuryvsNgannou

Ariel Helwani: Bullshit. Francis won that fight. I don’t care what anyone says. People’s champ. All hail.

Chris Eubank Jr. :Watching from ringside I thought Ngannou won the fight. It was close but he was the aggressor, landed heavier shots & scored a knockdown. Fury deserved to lose after having so much trouble against a man who has never boxed before… too much time filming Netflix specials not enough time in the gym I’m guessing. Unlucky Francis #FuryvsNgannou

Sunny Edwards: Fury massively overlooked Ngannou, found himself in deeper water than he thought he would & couldn’t get out of it. Close fight on the scorecards but have Francis Ngannou edging the rounds out when he needed to.

Dan Rafael: I’ll be surprised if #FuryUsyk moves ahead for Dec. 23 after the hard fight Fury had. #boxing#FuryNgannou

What Next?

Tyson Fury will not fight Oleksandr Usyk on December 23rd as was planned, having collected a cut on the face and a swelling about the eye.

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