- Tyson Fury beat Francis Ngannou via a split decision on Saturday in Saudi Arabia
- Despite his win, Fury’s body and face was left battered and bruised by Ngannou
- LISTEN: Exclusive Tyson Fury interview on THE HOOK – our new boxing podcast
The Gypsy King took on the former MMA star in Riyadh in one of the most eagerly-anticipated bouts of the year on Saturday.
Fury narrowly won the fight by split decision via a score of 94-95, 96-93, 95-94, but Ngannou left with much credit after a fine display in his first ever professional boxing fight.
Despite his victory, it was clear to see that the Cameroonian had pushed Fury all the way as the Gypsy King’s body and face looked battered and bruised.
In the third round, Ngannou even knocked down Fury having cut him in the previous round in a sight that is unfamiliar to boxing fans.
Tyson Fury was left with several cuts and bruises after his victory over Francis Ngannou
On the other hand, Ngannou looked fine after a highly impressive display on his boxing debut
On the other hand, Ngannou still looked relatively fresh-faced and didn’t have any noticeable damage.
Speaking post-fight, Fury heaped praise on his opponent and hinted that he had been surprised by how good the former MMA star was.
‘That definitely wasn’t in the script,’ he said. ‘Francis is a hell of a fighter, strong, a big puncher and a lot better boxer than we all thought he would ever be.’
‘He’s a very awkward man, a good puncher and I respect him a lot. He wasn’t coming forward, standing back and waiting for me to land my punches and then trying to counter – he’s a good fighter.
‘He’s given me probably one of my toughest fights in the last ten years.’
However, despite his bruised body and face, Fury defended his performance and highlighted how he got the job done.
He added: ‘(The knockdown was) nothing. it’s a part of boxing. I got caught behind the head again. My legs didn’t hurt or anything and I got back up and I was fine.
Fury was knocked down by Ngannou in the third round as he took several hits in the face
The Gypsy King was pushed all the way by the former MMA star during the fight in Riyadh
‘It was what it was, I got back to my boxing. I don’t know how close it was but I got the win and that’s what it is.’
‘I’ve been out the ring a long time again. 11 months since my last fight and you can see it in here. Ring rust.
‘But no excuses, Francis is a good fighter and he caught me with some good punches so fair play to him.
‘He’s cut me above the eye. I don’t know if it was a left hook or headbutt, I’m not sure but it was a good rough fight. ‘