The world’s boxing stars were all in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia this weekend to witness Tyson Fury colliding with MMA world champion and boxing debutant Francis Ngannou in a 10 round professional bout.
Fury survived a third round knockdown to win the crossover match by split decision, the scorecards read; one a piece at 95-94 and 96-93 in favour of Fury.
The WBC heavyweight title was not on the line in the Middle East but a chance at an undisputed clash with Oleksandr Usyk was. The originally penned date of December 23 appears to be moving to early 2024, even before Fury’s uninspiring performance against Ngannou.
ProBox TV spoke with former four-weight world champion, including a one-time reign as WBA heavyweight world champion, Roy Jones Jr to discuss this past weekend's events in Riyadh and its implications on the heavyweight division.
“It was a very intriguing fight.” Jones said in an exclusive interview one day removed from the event. “We were surprised because Ngannou did much better than anyone would have expected him to do. Considering the way things panned out last night, a lot of people gave him the victory mainly because of what he did. He had the more devastating or more dramatic things to happen, he knocked Tyson Fury down! The heavyweight champion of the world, he knocked him down. And the champ didn’t get up and dominate him from that point forward like we would have expected him to do. To be honest with you, you don’t expect someone to come out as a UFC fighter and go the distance with the heavyweight champion of the world but you definitely don’t expect him to knock the heavyweight champion of the world down.
“Now here is the big problem we have now, we are bringing boxing to this area, right? We don’t want to start boxing off in this area, this is why I can speak to people a little more in-depth, because we don’t want to start boxing off in this area with a bad taste in its mouth. You feel me? Last night we left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouth again. That’s what is happening to boxing, it always leaves a bad taste in peoples mouth. The problem is people are invested already, so they don’t want to go clean that up. You understand me? For this to be rectified and for boxing not to get messed up in this area already and get diluted due to the drama in this area. I feel like, and this is just me speaking, this isn’t a knock against anybody, a lot of people don’t know because this is their first time doing it, but I’m a veteran, right. If we don’t go back and make Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou [again], clean that up and get a real solid for sure winner, we are just hurting boxing more because these are the type of things that hurt boxing. I understand he has a fight signed with Usyk already, but if Usyk loves boxing like I love boxing, if Fury and everybody else love boxing like I love boxing, we have to come back first [to Ngannou]. The Usyk fight [with Fury] doesn't mean nothing, we don’t think he beat Francis Ngannou. So why are you fighting Usyk? Boxing has to clean itself up sometime. This is one of those events, with the people they have in control here, they have the power to make boxing clean itself up. That’s what we should do.”