Well, absolutely nobody, as in absolutely nobody, saw that coming! What were the odds of a Francis Ngannou decision win over Tyson Fury? God knows, but nobody in their right mind even considered such a result. But guess what – it very nearly happened. In fact, plenty of us feel it DID happen.
Tyson Fury got the decision win tonight in Saudi Arabia, the split decision win. That’s right, Fury, the self-proclaimed greatest heavyweight who ever lived, had to dig deep, he had to survive a knockdown, and, perhaps worst of all, Fury had to suffer the ignominy of being outfought and at times outboxed by a man who was having his pro boxing debut! Fury had to go through all of this and more to get a split decision win that could easily have gone the other way.
Knocked down in the third, marked up quite badly around the left eye, Fury perhaps took more hurt than ever before in round eight, this when the reigning (but not defending) WBC heavyweight champ really had to suck it up as the former UFC heavyweight king unloaded some bombs on his chin and head.
Fury tried everything tonight. He switch-hit, he tried boxing, he tried to slug, he coasted his way through the odd round. It was truly stunning to behold. And, despite the official decision – 96-93 for Fury, 95-94 for Fury, and 95-94 for Ngannou – Ngannou was the real winner tonight. After all the criticism this fight got, after all the disrespect Ngannou was given by almost everyone, by people who said he didn’t have a prayer of making the fight competitive, let alone win it……well, a whole lot of us owe Francis an apology.
An engraved apology.
Ngannou showed boxing skill, himself switching stance, and Ngannou showed patience and composure, even after he scored the knockdown. Again, nobody saw it coming.
Now, on to the big question, will Fury fight Oleksandr Usyk on Dec’ 23? I say no chance, not as badly marked up as Fury left the right tonight, not after being given such a tough – at times embarrassingly tough – time of things from, and let’s never forget it, a boxing novice.
But for now, Ngannou is the man of the hour, and he deserves all the headlines. Ngannou also deserved the decision over Fury in the opinion of many (this writer included). He really did shock the world.
Fury said in the lead-up to this fight that he would deserve to be laughed at if he lost to Ngannou. But after what we saw tonight, nobody’s laughing.