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  • Photo - Mikey Williams / Top Rank

Tyson Fury Survives Knockdown Edges Francis Ngannou



WBC & lineal heavyweight boxing world champion Tyson Fury overcame an early knockdown to secure a 10-round split decision victory over lineal MMA heavyweight world champion Francis Ngannou Saturday evening at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


The long-awaited battle of behemoths kicked off Riyadh Season, one of the world’s leading entertainment festivals, which runs throughout the winter months in the Kingdom’s largest city.


In the opening seconds, Fury leaped from his corner to land a quick right, but Ngannou’s awkwardness and strength soon slowed the pace. Then, as he appeared to get his rhythm, Fury was dropped with a counter left hook from Ngannou.


Fury got back to his feet to face a fired-up Ngannou, but a few robust right hands from The Gypsy King help to temper the MMA legend’s aggression. Fury continued to box, though he received numerous punches as he engaged with Ngannou on the inside in the eighth round, after which he resumed his outside game to try to secure the final two rounds.


Fury returned successfully from an almost 11-month layoff with scores of 96-93 and 95-94, which overruled one score of 95-94 for Ngannou.


Fury said, "That definitely wasn’t in the script. He’s one hell of a fighter. He’s strong, a big puncher, and a lot better as a boxer than we thought he would ever be. He’s a very awkward man, and he’s a good puncher. I respect him a lot, before the fight and afterward.

“He was very awkward. He wasn’t coming forward. He was standing back and waiting for me to land my punches and then try to counter. He’s a good fighter. He’s given me one of my toughest fights in the last 10 years.

“It’s part of boxing. I got caught behind the head again. My legs weren’t hurt or nothing. I was alright. And I got back up and it was what it was. And I got back to my boxing. I don’t know how close it was. But I got the win, and that’s what it is.”

Ngannou said, "We can run it back again, and I’m sure I will get the better. This was my first boxing match. It was a great experience. I’m not giving any excuse. I know I came up short. But I’m going to go back and work harder with a little more experience and a little more feeling of the game. And I will come back even stronger.

"At first, I was a little nervous. This is a new sport that I never did. Now I know I can do this sh*t. So, get ready!"

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