Tyson Fury makes Francis Ngannou admission as UFC star shows class with response

Tyson Fury admitted that Francis Ngannou’s skills in the boxing ring caught him by surprise in Saturday night’s narrow split decision victory. Fury prevailed over the ex-UFC star despite being knocked down in the third round.

While Ngannou entered the fight with a reputation for packing a powerful punch, Fury didn’t expect his opponent to be able to hang with him so closely in a contest where mixed martial arts actions were not allowed. He also confirmed there was no rematch clause for the fighters.

“That definitely wasn’t in the script,” Fury said afterward. “He’s a lot better of a boxer than we thought he’d be. He’s a very awkward man, and he’s a good puncher, and I respect him a lot. He was very awkward, he wasn’t coming forward; he was waiting for me to throw my punches then looking to counter.

“It’s a part of boxing [the knockdown], I got caught behind the head again. I got up and it was alright; 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. You can see it in here โ€“ ring rust, everything. No excuses, though. He’s cut me across the eye there. It was a good, rough fight. Perfect.”

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Fury’s next step is unclear following the tougher-than-expected fight, as he seemed non-committal about his title-unifying bout against Oleksandr Usyk taking place before the end of the year.

Usyk, though, was on hand in Saudi Arabia and said: “We’re back in this ring, 23 December, thank you very much, I go to sleep.”

Ngannou’s plans are also uncertain. He narrowly missed his opportunity to send shockwaves through the boxing world with a win over such a decorated fighter. Some fans on social media claimed judges should have awarded him the decision, though he opted to take the high road in that regard.

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“I am feeling great, fantastic,” Ngannou said. “It didn’t go my way, I might be beaten today, I might be wounded, but I can bite. We can run it back again, and I’m sure I’m gonna get better. This was my first boxing match, great experience. I’m not gonna give any excuse, I know I came up short, but I’m gonna come back with a little more experience of the game.

“At first I was a little nervous, now I know I can do this s***. The wolf is in the house. Tonight was to feel the water, and now I know the temperature.

“I came out from a long recovery and surgery, three months and a half. I worked hard and gave my best. I know myself. We’ll gather with my team and what we can do next to improve my game.”

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