10 things we learned from Tyson Fury-Francis Ngannou


1. The Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk fight is actually a better fight than we hoped 

For many, the saying a good big guy beats a good little guy was the old adage trotted out to describe this. Now, Fury might have seen better days; the severe weight loss and hard living has caught up to him, some say. Usyk is fresher. Usyk has more skills. Sure, Fury will likely take that fight far more seriously when it eventually happens, but plenty will now lean more heavily towards the Ukrainian.

2. Ngannou could be a factor in the heavyweight division 

Who would have thought this, but now people are discussing potential ‘dream fights’ with the likes of Deonaty Wilder and Anthony Joshua. And stop to consider the violence of Ngannou against former sparring partner Joe Joyce or Zhilei Zhang? None of those sound quite so stupid now, do they?

3. No excuses at all

Some said Fury’s best days are now behind him. Fury said there might have been some ring rust. Others pointed to the fact he was at the gala dinner the night before the fight and he’d taken on too many commitments. Well, Ngannou is two years older. Ngannou had been inactive for longer. Ngannou had the same commitments and was at the same dinner.

4. Crossover fights might be here to stay

Had Fury annihilated Ngannou in a couple of rounds, it may have put this argument to bed. But the fact that it was close, entertaining and that it left many questions unanswered has likely opened Pandora’s Box to many more of these money-spinners.

5. The real money is in Saudi Arabia

The spectre of sports-washing meant absolutely nothing to those A-listers (and those from the lists below) who showed up and took part. Some estimate the whole event cost the kingdom in the region of half a billion dollars. The ensemble guest-list was historic and showed the money swirling around the Middle East talks very loudly.

6. The division is wide open 

If Ngannou can do that after three-and-a-half months of training, what does that mean for the top stars? Already Eddie Hearn has beaten the drum for his man, Anthony Joshua, to get the next bite at Fury. The No. 1 position at heavyweight is not the closed book it might have been a week ago.

7. Fury has not strengthened his Hall of Fame credentials

Some are adamant Fury is a lock for Canastota. But being dropped and finding it hard to beat a 37-year-old debutant, allied with a thin resume at the top of the sport [Hall of Fame wins over Wilder and Wladimir Klitschko aside], he is potentially on shaky grounds for those electors who feel he has harmed the sport’s image.

8.The WBC has changed 

Maurico Sulaiman was all over this event. Conversely, his father Jose completely disassociated himself from Muhammad Ali’s spectacle against wrestler Antonio Inoki and actually stripped Ali of his 1975 Fighter of the Year award for taking the crossover fight, thus bringing “the sport into disrepute.”

“We realise that Muhammad Ali has done great things for contemporary boxing,” said Sulaiman. “But we feel he is presently showing no respect for the sport of boxing to which he owes absolutely everything.”

9. It could have been worse

A lot of people paid a lot of money to watch last night at home and there were not many who felt short-changed. Had Fury obliterated Ngannou in a round or two, as many expected, it would have been harder to explain the price tag. As it was, Fury-Ngannou delivered a bizarre and intoxicating contest that has left a significant historical image and mark. Only the cries of robbery left a familiar sour taste.

10. There is no sport like this 

I don’t necessarily say this with much joy, today, but wow. That is the exact word a well-respected journalist messaged me during the third round, as it turned from circus to real fight. “Those Fury beats Ali arguments are likely getting a bit quieter,” he said. 

So were the ones about Fury beating Usyk.