This past Saturday, boxing had it’s Battle of the Baddest matchup pairing up lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (34-0-1) against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (17-3 MMA). It was Ngannou’s first professional boxing matchup and while it was being built as a massive event, it was looked at as a tune-up for Fury.
In December or early 2024, Fury is scheduled to take on fellow heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (21-0). Usyk was in attendance in Saudi Arabia watching the matchup with Fury and Ngannou. Most, including myself, figured that Fury would have his way with Ngannou when it came to boxing.
Fury’s championship experience and cardio in the late rounds I figured would really allow him to pull away. However, Ngannou was measured throughout the matchup and did better than anyone thought he would. He even dropped the lineal heavyweight champion in the third round of their matchup.
It was a razor close fight and I could see a decision going to either man. I personally scored the fight 5-5 with the knockdown for Ngannou being the one-point difference in the fight. One judge saw it my way, but two others gave the slight edge to boxing’s heavyweight champ. Fury got the win and stayed unbeaten ahead of the undisputed heavyweight title fight.
Boxing’s Heavyweight Unification Bout
Ahead of Saturday night, virtually anyone you talked to would favor Tyson Fury over Usyk in their title fight. Especially given the fact that Usyk should’ve lost to Daniel Dubois had it not been for a referee who ruled that a perfectly legal body shot went low. Usyk has also won some questionable decisions in the past.
Fury has largely been dominant throughout his professional boxing career. Francis Ngannou fought him closer than really any of the top boxers had. You can talk about the Wilder draw, but I’ve watched that fight a number of times and Fury dominated the boxing throughout that matchup. However, getting dropped twice led to the draw in that matchup.
He completely dominated the second and third fights stopping Wilder in both. Seeing how dominant he’s been created even more shock with how Saturday unfolded. However, I would really caution anyone who jumps to conclusions on how Fury – Uysk will go based on Saturday night.
If the fight was tomorrow, I’d throw a lot of money on Tyson Fury. When Fury and Usyk square off to find out who is the boxing’s greatest heavyweight, I really believe he’s going to get the job done. Styles and situations can create unique matchups and special moments. Saturday was one of those moments. When Fury and Usyk square off, it’ll be a completely different moment and I believe one that Tyson Fury will own.