Boxing fans worldwide have slammed the decision to award Tyson Fury the win over Francis Ngannou on Saturday night.
Fury beat the UFC heavyweight by a contentious split decision in Riyadh, even though the Cameroonian knocked down the Gypsy King in the third round and had the better of the Englishman for a large majority of the fight.
Despite being knocked down in the third round, Fury took the result 96-93 and 95-94 on two of the judges' cards. The other judge had it 95-94 for Ngannou.
This was Ngannou's first professional boxing contest, and he did not look out of place in the bout with the world's best.
Fans watching at home made their feelings known about Fury's win, and a large majority of people felt that the UFC superstar Ngannou should have been the victor on the night.
"Don't get me wrong; I really like Fury, and I wanted him to win. However, that's an absolute farce; Ngannou should have taken that!" said one user on X.
While another said, "How in the world did Francis Ngannou not win this fight even after scoring a knockdown? I think these referees favoured Tyson Fury so they could set up the Usyk match. For his first boxing game, Francis did a great job. I think he was robbed. What is a split decision?"
Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn also had his say on Fury's win and claimed that his fighter Anthony Joshua would beat Fury, having seen that display from him in Saudi Arabia.
“I’m absolutely lost for words,” the Matchroom boss said. “I mean, Francis Ngannou has never boxed before. Fair play to him; he didn’t look overly impressive, but Tyson Fury looked like he’s never laced up a pair of gloves before.
“He got dropped in the third round, never threw a punch. Ngannou never threw a punch after. I thought Ngannou won by two rounds. The boxing world has gone mad.
“Forget Fury vs Usyk - no one is interested. Just give us Fury vs AJ. AJ will knock Tyson Fury out inside six rounds. Make the fight, or we will never get it.”
Both fighters offered very mixed views on their fight also. Ngannou was asked if anything surprised him in the Fury fight:
“The fact that I didn't win surprised me… If he's being honest, he would say I won that fight. I won that fight; there's no question about it. But even before getting here, I knew I'm not winning a decision. Because I'm a new guy in the house. I know they need - there's a structural business out there - and you need to do a lot to destroy that. It is what it is," he said.
Fury offered a humbler take and admitted he was surprised by the UFC star's boxing skills.
“That definitely wasn’t in the script,” said Fury. “[Ngannou] is 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.
“[The knockdown] is a part of boxing. I got caught behind the head. I got up, and it was all right; I got back to my boxing.
“I don’t know how close [the fight] was, but I got the win, and that’s what it is. I’ve been out of the ring a long time again. You can see it here – ring rust, everything. No excuses, though. He’s cut me across the eye there. It was a good, rough fight. Perfect.”
Next up for Fury is a potential clash with Oleksandr Usyk to unify WBC, WBO, WBA, and IBF heavyweight titles. That was meant to happen this December, but Frank Warren has claimed that the fight will now take place next year.
FRANCIS NGANNOU KNOCKDOWN TYSON FURY IN ROUND 3‼️🥊🤯 pic.twitter.com/odMkoJ17Qa
— IFN (@IfnBoxing) October 28, 2023