A historic boxing showdown took place on October 28 inside the magnificent Boulevard Hall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Against all odds, Francis Ngannou faced off with the reigning WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
He delivered a powerful blow, knocking Fury down in the third round. Ngannou went on to narrowly lose the match by split decision.
Between 2015 and 2022, Ngannou dominated the UFC ring. However, his relationship with Dana White and the UFC took a sour turn when the former heavyweight champion opted not to renew his contract.
During an exclusive interview on The MMA Hour, Ngannou’s manager Marquel Martin drew a vivid contrast between the boxing event in Saudi Arabia and UFC productions.
He expressed, “We got a tour of where the main event fight was going to be and that’s where it really set in. I think it was like 19,000 seats or something like that. You saw the stage. They walked us through how the walkout was going to be because we had planned on all of that.”
“That’s when it just kind of set in. We’re used to the UFC shows being the biggest and the best and this trumped it by a million times. I’m just so happy for our brother Francis because that’s what he deserved.”
Boulevard Hall was the venue for Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou, and it came into existence in mid-2023. The people of Saudi Arabia accomplished the feat of constructing the entire structure in a mere three months.
Marquel Martin shared his awe during the interview. He said: “Being in the middle of it all, we were all kind of taking it back by the sheer magnitude. If you go around just the arena, we took a tour of the arena, and one of the gentlemen from the Saudi team was telling me that they built that arena in three months. People don’t understand the amount of work that went on, 24 hours a day construction going into the event.”
The judges’ scorecards were not necessary for Francis Ngannou to win his boxing match against Tyson Fury. Rather, Ngannou gained the respect of hundreds of millions of people throughout the globe. This will potentially pave the way for numerous lucrative opportunities in both MMA and boxing.