Tyson Fury survived a third-round knockdown to defeat Francis Ngannou in a split decision on Saturday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
One judge scored the fight 95-94 for Ngannou, but the other two judges scored it 96-93 and 95-94 for Fury.
Fury’s WBC heavyweight title was not on the line in the 10-round boxing match.
Ngannou, a former UFC heavyweight champion, was making his professional boxing debut. Fury, the undefeated WBC heavyweight champion, was installed as a 14-1 favorite to win the match.
It is unclear if Fury’s undisputed heavyweight championship fight against Oleksandr Usyk, which is scheduled for December 23 in Riyadh, will still happen on that date.
How the Fight Played Out
Ngannou came out swinging in the first round, landing several heavy punches on Fury. Fury was able to weather the storm and began to box more effectively in the second round.
In the third round, Ngannou landed a left hook that knocked Fury down. Fury got up quickly, but Ngannou continued to press the attack. Fury was able to survive the round and regroup in the corner.
Fury began to take control of the fight in the fourth round, using his superior boxing skills to outmaneuver Ngannou. Fury landed several jabs and combinations throughout the round, while Ngannou was unable to land any significant punches.
The fifth and sixth rounds were similar, with Fury controlling the pace of the fight and landing more punches. Ngannou was able to land a few heavy punches in the sixth round, but Fury was not visibly hurt.
In the seventh round, Fury landed a right hook that staggered Ngannou. Fury followed up with a flurry of punches, but Ngannou was able to survive the round.
Fury continued to control the fight in the eighth and ninth rounds, landing jabs and combinations at will. Ngannou was unable to land any significant punches, and he began to show signs of fatigue.
In the tenth and final round, Fury coasted to victory. He landed a few jabs and combinations, but he did not press the attack. Ngannou was unable to land any significant punches, and he looked exhausted.
At the end of the fight, the judges’ scorecards were read, and Fury was declared the winner by split decision.
However, Ngannou silenced critics with his stunning performance. He went the distance with arguably the best heavyweight champion of this era and scored a massive knockdown. We’re excited to see what boxing will look like now with Francis Ngannou in the mix.