Tyson Fury reaction to Francis Ngannou knockdown speaks volumes about huge punch

MMA superstar Francis Ngannou thought he had shocked the world against Tyson Fury on Saturday night only to be on the wrong end of a hugely controversial defeat by split decision. But the Cameroonian’s stunning knockdown of the WBC heavyweight champion in the third round and Fury’s reaction said it all. 

By the end of 10 astonishing rounds in Riyadh, the majority of observers thought former UFC king Ngannou was the rightful winner. It would have been one of the biggest upsets in the history of boxing, but Ngannou can take the solace of knocking Fury (34-0-1) down and exceeding all expectations in the ring, winning a new legion of fans in the process. 

Fury’s reaction to the third-round knockdown was telling. As he gathered his senses after cutting a vacant expression following the shot, the bell rang to end the round and WBC champion appeared to tap former UFC heavyweight king Ngannou – who had never competed in a sanctioned boxing match before Saturday night – on the arm as if to recognise the power and accuracy of the blow. 

Stars of boxing and MMA responded in amazement during the fight. Former UFC fighter Dan Hardy said on the TNT Sports broadcast: “It’s really incredible what we’re seeing right now. Everything is falling apart for Tyson. “Former super bantamweight world champion Carl Frampton added: “I can’t believe what I’m watching. I think we need to hang our heads in shame for the little credit we gave to Ngannou. He is boxing out of his skin.”

At the end of 10 rounds in which it seemed Ngannou landed all of the meaningful shots and Fury lacked his usual vigor, they went to the judges’ scorecards and Fury snatched a victory by the tightest of margins. The scorecards read 95-94, 96-93, 94-95. 

Ngannou spent seven years in the UFC, becoming champion in 2021 and leaving the promotion a year later. “The Predator” had not fought in any official capacity since then until the bell rang for the opening round against Fury. 

Despite not getting the decision from the judges, Ngannou was humble in his post-fight interview, insisting he will be back competing in a boxing ring again. 

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He said: “This was my first boxing match, it was a great experience. I’m not giving any excuses, I know I came up short, but I’m going to go back and work hard. I have more feeling for the game and I’m going to come back even stronger. I was really nervous. This is a new sport that I never did [before], but now I know I can do this s***.”

“I don’t know how close it was, but I got the win and that’s how it was,” Fury said in the ring after the fight. “You can see it here, ring rust. Fair play to Francis, he cut my head here. It was a good fight.”

Fury faced off with unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in the ring after the fight ahead of a proposed showdown for the undisputed title in Saudi Arabia in December. But serious questions will be raised about Fury, not only for a cut above his eye caused by a Ngannou punch, but also for the worst performance in a boxing ring unbeaten Fury has mustered for a decade. 

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