In easily his worst performance of his career, WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) edged former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (0-1), winning a 10 round split decision in their crossover fight on Saturday night at Boulevard Hall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Fury looked fat, slow & old tonight, and one gets the sense that the 100+ lbs of weight he took off for this fight took a lot out of him.
Fury looked exhausted & afraid down the stretch, as he was getting clubbed by Ngannou each time he attempted to lean & wrestle at close range, which has become his main style of fighting in recent years.
The judges scores:
- 95-94 – Ngannou
- 96-93 – Fury
- 95-94 – Fury
He’d been eating well since his last fight against journeyman Dereck Chisora last December and packed on many pounds. Tonight, Fury looked like one of the walking dead, as he now power and energy to keep the stronger fighter Ngannou off him.
Ngannou knocked Fury down in the third round and had him cowering and on the run in the second half of the contest.
Live boxing results will be provided below tonight’s card, which begins at 2:00 p.m. ET.
– In the best fight on the undercard, British heavyweight Fabio Wardley (17-0, 16 KOs) stopped David Adeleye (12-1, 11 KOs) in the seventh round of a sloppy war. The time of the stoppage was at the 2:43 mark.
The 6’5″ Wardley knocked a tired-looking Adeleye down with a left to the head in the seventh. After Adeleye got back to his feet, Wardley finished him moments later.
The referee wisely stepped in to stop the fight after seeing the condition that Adeleye was in. Adeleye was not a happy camper at the bout being halted and let the referee know by shoving him.
After all the fuss that was made beforehand about how great the Wardley-Adeleye fight would be, it was a massive disappointment. These domestic-level fighters didn’t belong anywhere near the chief support bout. These should be on small hall shows, not in a big event like this one.
Neither of these guys looked good, and it would have been better if the promoters had buried their fight at the bottom of the card and put some money into getting a high-quality opponent for the one true talent on the card Arslanbek Makhmudov to fight. He’s the one real talent on the entire card, including the trainwreck in the main event.
– Former WBO heavyweight belt holder Joseph Parker (33-3, 23 KOs) kept his career alive with a third round knockout victory over Simon Kean (23-2, 22 KOs). Parker nailed Kean with an uppercut that put him down. The contest was halted at 2:04 of the round.
Parker was dominant throughout, connecting with nice shots and having his way against Kean. Given Parker’s experience, he should be fighting better opposition than this because he’s been taking it easy for the most part since losing his WBO title to Anthony Joshua in 2018.
In the last five years, the only two quality fighters Parker has faced were Dillian Whyte & Joe Joyce, and he lost to both of them.
– Heavyweight contender Arslanbek Makhmudov (18-0, 17 KOs) stopped Junior Anthony Wright (20-5-1, 17 KOs) in the first round in a fight that was over before it ever got a chance to be interesting.
Makhmudov knocked the 37-year-old Wright down with a combination to the head. Wright showed heart by staggering to his feet and gamely trying to continue.
Makhmudov then finished him with several hard shots to the head. Referee Steve Gray then stepped in to save Wright from getting poleaxed for a second time.
– Moses Itauma (6-0, 4 KOs) obliterated Istvan Bernath (10-2, 8 KOs) in the first round in heavyweight action. The 18-year-old Itauma dropped Bernath with a hard right to the head and then moments later finished him off with a storm of heavy shots that caused referee John Latham to waive it off at 1:53 of the round.
Itauma would have been better off if he’d stayed in the amateur ranks rather than learning on the job as a pro against weak opposition like the type he’s been facing.
In hindsight, Itauma would have gotten a lot more experience against quality fighters if he’d gone the amateur route like other heavyweights rather than turning pro and fighting tomato cans that won’t help him prepare for world-class opposition.
– Heavyweight Martin Bakole (20-1, 15 KOs) showed off his impressive power, stopping journeyman Carlos Takam (40-8-1, 28 KOs) in the fourth round. Bakole, 30, nailed the 42-year-old Takam with a couple of hard body shots and then finished the job with a hard punch to the head.
Bakole did a better job of beating Takam than Arslanbek Makhmudov, who was forced to go the ten round distance to defeat the former heavyweight world title challenger by unanimous decision last year.
The real question is, why didn’t the promoters for tonight’s event match Bakole against Makmudov (17-0, 16 KOs) rather than putting him in with Takam in a pointless fight that proved nothing?
They will eventually have to put Bakole in with a decent opponent because he can’t make a career if this kind of guy he’s going to routinely face.
In the opening fight on tonight’s card, junior middleweight prospect Jack McGann (9-0-1, 6 KOs) destroyed the hapless Alcibiade Duran (12-4, 9 KOs), scoring a second round knockout.
It’s unclear what McGann’s promoters’ plans are for him, as he didn’t show the kind of talent that suggests that he’s heading toward world title honors dispute destroying the little-known Duran.
Fabio Wardley vs. David Adeleye
Joseph Parker vs. Simon Kean
Arslanbek Makhmudov vs. Junior Anthony Wright
Moses Itauma vs. Istvan Bernath
Carlos Takam vs. Martin Bakole
Jack McGann vs. Alcibiade Duran Galvan
On paper, it’s a mismatch, but given Fury’s history of getting dropped repeatedly in the last time he fought a big puncher, Deontay Wilder, you got to give Ngannou a chance tonight.
Ngannou has the chance to put himself in a position to make loads of dough in a rematch with Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) later on down the road if he wins tonight.
“I expect Francis Ngannou to get slaughtered,” said Stephen A. Smith on his site. “I believe a boxer will kick an MMA fighter’s a** in a boxing ring, and I believe an MMA fighter would slaughter a boxer in the octagon.
“Francis Ngannou has the type of power that can paralyze a human being. I will say this. I’ll give him a puncher’s chance from this standpoint. If Deontay Wilder, at a bloated up 231 with his slim legs of his, can drop Tyson Fury not once but twice in their trilogy, and drop him twice in their first fight, at least once in that twelfth round.
“If that Deontay Wilder that was close to 40 lbs lighter can drop Tyson Fury twice because he caught him with a right hand, what the hell if Tyson Fury gets caught by Francis Ngannou? When you coin the phrase, ‘A puncher’s chance,’ it’s because of the heavyweight division.
“There are plenty of people who couldn’t fight compared to their opponent, and they caught them, and you go to sleep. Francis Ngannou has the kind of electrifying power.
“They say his punches are the equivalent of 96 horsepower and more powerful than a twelve lb sledgehammer to the head. That’s what they describe a punch from Francis Ngannou to be. If that is the case and he catches Tyson Fury, who the hell knows what can happen?
“So, when I’m predicting a slaughter, I’m not omitting the possibility that can happen. I’m simply saying, that’s what it’ll take to beat Tyson Fury if you’re Francis Ngannou,” said Smith.
“I think when Tyson Fury signed that $200 million contract with Usyk, things got a little bit dangerous for Ngannou because it’s serious business now,” said Antonio Tarver to Boxing King Media about tonight’s fight between Fury & Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia.
“When you look at Tyson Fury, his personality is off the chart, and when you look at Ngannou, when you look at his story, you got to give a guy like that a chance, if nothing else. An African kid who only had a dream, and he made all his dreams come true, and he’s still undefeated in any ring or octagon.
“It’s a different animal; it’s a guy with different ability,” said Tarver about a fight between IBF, WBA & WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk and Fury. “He [Usyk] doesn’t have the heavyweight power that we’re used to seeing, but his skill set is off the chart.
“Skill beats Will, so you have to give Usyk, who is an unbeaten Olympic gold medalist, who has the majority of all the belts. You’ve got to give him a chance. He’s fighting a giant, and Tyson Fury has shown to be the biggest & the best so far.
“So, in a fight like that, you’ve got to lean towards the bigger and stronger guy. But if anybody can beat Tyson Fury, it’s a guy with Usyk’s skill & ability.”
Francis Ngannou will be making his pro debut tonight against arguably the top heavyweight in the division, Tyson Fury, in their highly anticipated $79.99 ten-round contest on ESPN+ PPV at Boulevard Hall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Yes, the price tag is steep for some, but it could be worthwhile to fans, especially if Ngannou wins.