Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis has questioned Tyson Fury‘s preparation for his crossover fight against former UFC fighter Francis Ngannou.
Fury was awarded the win by split decision in Saudi Arabia on Saturday but only after he had been knocked down in the third round by Ngannou.
The Gypsy King’s WBC heavyweight belt was not on the line in Riyadh, and he struggled to get to grips with Ngannou in a sluggish performance.
The former UFC heavyweight champion was making his professional boxing debut, and more than matched Fury throughout the bout.
One of the three judges scored the fight 95-94 in Ngannou’s favour, but the other two gave it to Fury at 96-93 and 95-94, maintaining his unbeaten record.
Tyson Fury just did enough to come out on top but Francis Ngannou pushed him closer than many expected in Riyadh
Ngannou sent Fury to the canvas with a thunderous left hook in round three but the judges still scored the fight in the Gypsy King’s favour in a split decision
Former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis took to X to question Fury’s preparation for the bout
However, Fury’s underwhelming performance was enough to get the world of boxing talking.
Lewis, who is a three-time heavyweight champion, took to X (formerly Twitter) to criticise Fury’s approach to the fight.
He posted: ‘Just by looking at those love handles, i thought to myself, no way Fury had a full camp… I’m thinking he maybe got in 4-6 weeks… This definitely wasn’t same Fury who beat [Deontay] Wilder.’
Current super middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez also had his say, simply posting a wide-eye emoji after the fight was awarded to Fury.
Chris Eubank Jr went a step further by suggesting he felt that Ngannou had done enough to win the fight.
He posted on X: ‘Watching from ringside I thought Ngannou won the fight.
‘It was close but he was the aggressor, landed heavier shots & scored a knockdown. Fury deserved to lose after having so much trouble against a man who has never boxed before…
‘Too much time filming Netflix specials not enough time in the gym I’m guessing. Unlucky Francis.’
‘That definitely wasn’t in the script,’ Fury told TNT Sports after the fight.
‘He’s an awkward man and a good puncher and I respect him a lot. He’s given me one of my toughest fights of the last 10 years.’
Super middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez also seemed to be taken aback by Fury’s underwhelming performance
Fury was visibly rocked after being knocked to the floor by the former UFC heavyweight champion
Fury’s victory means he can now focus on an upcoming bout with fellow heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk – who holds the WBA, WBO and IBF titles – which was agreed earlier this month.
Usyk, who was in the crowd in Riyadh, also questioned whether Fury took the bout with Ngannou seriously.
Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has suggested that the unconvincing nature of Fury’s win against Ngannou shows he is not yet ready to take on the Ukrainian.
Hearn said: ‘I’m absolutely lost for words. Fury looked like he’d never laced up a pair of gloves before. I thought Ngannou won by two rounds… Forget Fury vs Usyk, no-one’s interested, just give us Fury vs Anthony Joshua. AJ will knock Fury out inside six rounds.’
Fury’s own promoter Frank Warren was quick to praise Ngannou, suggesting that he stacked up well compared to some of Fury’s recent opponents.
He told BBC 5 Live: ‘Normally MMA guys are a bit more square on but he [Ngannou] actually shapes up really well.
‘He gave Tyson the toughest fight that he’s had out of his last three fights.
‘I thought he made more of a fight of it than Dillian [Whyte] and Derek Chisora.
‘As I was looking at it [the fight], I was thinking about a few guys and what sort of problems he could give them.’