Arum hopes Fury performance against Ngannou was just a bad night

Bob Arum hopes Tyson Fury’s abject showing against Francis Ngannou was nothing more than just a bad day at the office, and not the first indicators of decline.

"Let’s be honest," Arum told Boxing Scene. "You watch Fury’s last fight with Ngannou, either he wasn’t prepared for that fight or he’s lost a step."

Fury was sensationally dropped by former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to launch the first boxing promotion involving Turki Alalshikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority in Saudi Arabia.

The fight, on October 28, was expected to be a routine win for Fury in the non-title 10-round affair, serving as a warm-up for an eventual undisputed heavyweight fight with rival Oleksandr Usyk.

The original plan was for the pair to clash on December 23. A new date was set for February 17 to allow Fury time to recover from Ngannou, and enough time to suitably prepare to face Usyk.

Promoter Arum is hoping it was just an off night for Fury. 

"When fighters get up in age, that happens," Arum said. 

"I really believe it’s the former — that Fury didn’t prepare as well as he should have, who, by the way, has the tools to become a force in the heavyweight division."

Despite Arum’s concerns, the legendary promoter is confident Fury can rise to the occasion while acknowledging that Usyk poses a significant threat to the WBC heavyweight champion, which Fury also admits, according to Arum.

"I really believe [Fury vs Usyk is] going to be a fascinating fight," said Arum.

"Usyk is a very smart fighter. He prepares extremely well. He’s fearless. That will be a very big test for Fury. Fury knows that. He’s been training assiduously for the fight."