Tyson Fury was somewhat humbled following the conclusion of his encounter with Francis Ngannou this past weekend in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The WBC world heavyweight champion had been expected to come through the contest with Ngannou unscathed. However, it was anything but plain sailing.
Dropped, bruised and fighting to preserve the sport’s dignity, Fury would scrape a split decision points win over Ngannou after being dropped in the third round of their ten-round contest.
Fury, as far back as the promotion launch with his encounter with Ngannou, insisted that the former UFC heavyweight champion would present a more challenging task at hand than divisional rival and unified heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk.
That opinion did not change following the conclusion of the contest with Ngannou.
“Listen, [Usyk is] a smaller man than Francis,” Fury told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna in the ring. “I always said Francis was a much more dangerous fight than Oleksandr. And that’s it.”
A date of December 23 has been touted and acknowledged by all parties regarding the undisputed heavyweight encounter between Fury and Usyk. However, promoter Frank Warren attempted to dampen expectations by insisting that he would look after Fury’s best interests. He suggested that he will be seeking to delay the heavyweight encounter till the new year.
Fury would continue his comments regarding Ngannou in praising fashion, stating that he was much better than what he thought he would be.
“Listen, he was a good fighter,” Fury said. “No excuses. He’s a good boxer. He’s a lot better than I thought he’d be. And he gave me a good fight. Fair play to him. God bless him.”
Fury, who suffered a knockdown in the third round, dismissed the effects of the blow, which sent the WBC heavily to the canvas. Fury believes the shot was behind the back of the head when it wasnt.
“Just a flash knockdown behind the head,” Fury said of a shot that appeared to land on the right side of his head. “I think it was like a glancing blow at the back of the head. And it was what it was. I was all right.”
The knockdown from Ngannou was the pivotal factor on the card of Judge Ed Garner, who scored Ngannou a 95-94 winner. Judges Juan Carlos Pelayo (96-93) and Alan Krebs (95-94) scored seven and six rounds for Fury, respectively.