Francis Ngannou broke a four fight stoppage streak for Tyson Fury by taking him the distance last month in Saudi Arabia.
The MMA man and pro boxing debutant performed much better than expected in the ten-rounder against Fury, keeping up with and winning rounds against the undefeated world champion.
Despite looking for a big shot in the opening seconds for an early night, Fury wasn’t able to trouble the chin of Ngannou – even with a misplaced elbow – ending his run of inside the distance wins.
Those started with a change of trainer and style that saw him utilise strength and size a bit more than movement and defence. With SugarHill Steward in his corner, Fury stopped Deontay Wilder twice before Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora.
Even though Ngannou stayed on his feet, he said on The Last Stand that Fury had the best power when asked to compare it with the people he fought in MMA.
“Fury punches pretty good. I ate some of his shots – he punches very strong. And he was with 10oz gloves, because MMA fights are 4oz gloves. In boxing it’s 10oz. I think, so far, he is the top [hard hitter.]”
Ngannou was the one to cause most damage in the fight, knocking the Brit down in round three and leaving him bruised post-fight. He was asked how he felt when he saw the champion hit the canvas.
“I was [feeling] pretty good. I mean, I have watched Fury many times, I have watched him take a strong hand, go down, unconscious and then come back.
So I knew [I could knock him down. I was expecting [more] because I was looking at him, his eyes were open, he looks like he was all conscious.”
Ngannou is hoping for a rematch to avenge the split-decision loss, a decision he thinks is wholly unfair.