A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Sports Commentary: Francis Ngannou broke the boxing system, and is Tyson Fury on the decline?

Courtesy of KungFuFrogMMA
Francis Ngannou with the UFC Title during a photoshoot for UFC 270.

“Battle of the Baddest” was a remake of “Rocky 1,” but in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and featuring the current Boxing WBC Heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, fighting the debuting and former MMA UFC Heavyweight champion Francis “The Predator” Ngannou. While many expected Fury to outbox Ngannou because of his experience alone, Ngannou shocked the world by giving Fury his toughest fight. After Oct. 28, fans, purists, promoters and other boxers questioned Fury’s reputation as a champion and as one of the best fighters in the world.

Ngannou had previously discussed debuting in the boxing world, claiming it was the fight combat sport he’d fallen in love with, but his credibility and pull weren’t enough to get him in the ring until the Fury negotiations. Many suspected that Ngannou would take the money and lose against Fury, especially considering Ngannou entering the ring at age 37 after returning from a two-year hiatus due to a grade 3 MCL tear and ACL injury.

Given that Ngannou had previously only engaged in two UFC fights that made it to five rounds, and knowing his reckless style, many people assumed he did not have the cardio gas tank and would pass out in the ring.

Rounds one and two were slow for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia while Fury took the lead and “felt out” Ngannou. Ngannou, aware of Fury’s tactics, bided his time and knocked Fury down in the last 30 seconds of the third round. From the perspective of purists and die-hard fans, Ngannou won the fight with that knockdown. However, Fury got up and composed himself and in rounds four and five readjusted and fought smarter, landing more punches, dodging Ngannou’s shots and being a ring general until round six.

Round six looked to be a great round for Fury until he threw an illegal elbow and his credibility dropped. During the build he’d told Ngannou, “No MMA moves,” yet he wound up using one. After rounds seven and eight, Ngannou became the ring general, dominating three rounds. He pressured Fury and controlled the fight; his poor physical shape led many to be suspicious of his claims of a “12-week training camp.”

Ngannou shocked the world by surviving the fight and giving Fury his toughest battle and, according to many fans, maybe winning it. But unfortunately, the judges gave the split decision victory to Fury, and people were pissed off. While many boxing legends could understand why Fury won, Fury’s face said it all — he didn’t look like a winner.

After the fight, Ngannou took to social media, saying, “I got robbed by those judges. I should have done better,” and adding, “I really believe that I won that fight.” The question now is, what is Fury’s stock as a champion worth after this match?

The whole boxing fan base, promoters and YouTube sports “journalists” are questioning the ability of Fury to be the best in the world. Many believe that fighters in the top five, like Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk, could easily kill Fury in a fight.

Fury will next face Usyk, the first Ukrainian undisputed champion in Cruiserweight, who went up a weight class and captured three of the four Heavyweight titles from Antony Joshua. The fight was supposed to be scheduled for December, but seeing that Fury got his butt whooped by Ngannou, it has been rescheduled for February or March in Saudi Arabia.

As for Ngannou, it’s clear even after losing, boxing lost. He won the fight and the love from the fans. After the match-up, the Boxing Commission gave him a ranked number in the heavyweight division, and there have been negotiations from Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, two former world champions, to box him now. As for Fury, many question whether he will be able to beat Usyk.

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