Clash between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou was the focus of all attention. We witnessed a thrilling spectacle that left the world buzzing. The WBC heavyweight champion, Fury, clinched victory on Saturday night in Riyadh. Still, it was far from the walkover many had anticipated, with some even believing that lineal UFC champion, Ngannou, making his boxing debut, should have been declared the winner.
The intriguing subplot to this bout was the presence of Oleksandr Usyk, a fellow heavyweight champion who also holds all four of the world heavyweight titles in boxing. As Ngannou accomplished the unthinkable by knocking down The Gypsy King in the third round with a powerful left hook, Usyk was among the enthralled audience in Riyadh.
Usyk ouldn’t help but raise his eyebrows and stroke his chin. It was apparent that he had identified a potential chink in Fury’s armor, fueling anticipation for their much-anticipated clash later this year.
He commented after, “I had an impression that he was playing. I’m not thinking about [whether he was playing possum] but I will be training 100 percent.” He noted, “But listen, it’s boxing. Maybe it was the element of surprise. Maybe. I think it was [a] show.”
The anticipation for a Fury vs. Usyk showdown had been building long before Fury signed on to face Ngannou. The card against Ngannou seemed like a tuneup for Fury as he prepared to face Usyk, who, like Fury, boasts an undefeated record. Instead, Usyk successfully defended his WBO, IBF, and WBA belts against the spirited British challenger, Daniel Dubois, in August.
Incredible angle of Francis Ngannou’s knockdown of Tyson Fury pic.twitter.com/GsUhxQHVMp
— The Octagon Obsessed (@octagonobsessed) October 28, 2023
As Fury commented after the controversial split decision victory, “That definitely wasn’t in the script. He’s a hell of a fighter and a hell of a lot better boxer than we thought he would be. He’s an awkward man and a good puncher, and I respect him a lot. He was very awkward, he wasn’t coming forward and was waiting for me to throw. He’s given me one of my toughest fights of the last 10 years.”
As soon as Fury looked for those clinch entries, I wanted N'Gannou to look for that forearm frame, or a way to keep Fury out of him.
In Round 8, N'Gannou finally found it, and landed a lot of shots on Fury.
— Sweet Punch Memories (@SPM_staff) October 28, 2023
Ngannou, gracious in defeat, remarked, “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.”