Tyson Fury Secures Split Decision Victory Over Francis Ngannou Following Knockdown

WBC heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury secured a split decision victory over former UFC fighter Francis Ngannou in a non-title bout held in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, October 29. This bout nearly produced one of boxing’s most significant upsets, as many believed Ngannou should have emerged victorious.

Fury, who boasts an unblemished record and holds one of the sport’s most prestigious titles, narrowly avoided his first career loss against the 37-year-old opponent who had no professional boxing experience. However, Ngannou impressively went the distance in the full 10 rounds.

During the match, Ngannou delivered a left hook in the third round that sent Fury to the canvas. Although Fury, the 35-year-old “Gypsy King,” managed to recover and complete the round, there was no doubt about the challenge he faced.

The judges’ scorecards revealed a split decision: one judge scored it 95-94 in favor of Ngannou, the former UFC heavyweight champion, but this was overruled by tallies of 96-93 and 95-94 in favor of Fury. It’s worth noting that Fury’s WBC heavyweight title was not at stake in this 10-round boxing contest, and Ngannou was making his professional boxing debut, returning to the ring for the first time since January 2022.

Tyson Fury had been a heavy favorite at 14-1 odds to win the match and progress to a showdown for the undisputed heavyweight championship against Oleksandr Usyk. Despite securing the victory, it was described as arguably the “worst performance of his career” by sports commentators.

Throughout the bout, Fury appeared perplexed, unsure of how to approach Ngannou, who displayed surprising timing. In Round 3, Ngannou landed a left hook on Fury’s temple, resulting in a knockdown, the seventh of Fury’s career. Nonetheless, Fury managed to beat the count, as he had done in previous knockdowns, including those in his heavyweight title trilogy against Deontay Wilder.

Some have raised concerns that the match might have been rigged in favor of Fury. The champion mentioned there was no rematch clause in their agreement, but he expressed interest in facing Ngannou again in the future, following an undisputed title fight against Ukraine’s IBF, IBO, WBO, and WBA champion Oleksandr Usyk. The rematch between Fury and Ngannou is scheduled to take place in Riyadh, with the exact date yet to be officially announced, but both champions have confirmed it will occur on December 23.

Usyk, who was present in Saudi Arabia to observe his future opponent, stated he was prepared for the challenge.

Ngannou relinquished his heavyweight belt after a contract dispute with the UFC and became a free agent in January. Despite facing challenges leading up to the fight, he expressed his determination to improve and return stronger, saying, “Now I know I can do this… get ready. The wolf is in the house.”

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