The boxing establishment has had to do a little bit of soul-searching in the wake of Saturday night’s fight in Riyadh.
Not many people outside of Francis Ngannou’s camp, either in the world’s of boxing or MMA, gave Francis Ngannou much of a chance in his professional boxing debut against the WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. But now, a couple of days removed from what could have been one of the most seismic shocks ever seen in professional sports, many members of the boxing community have attempted to quantify exactly what they witnessed in those ten rounds in Riyadh.
One of the fiercest critics of the fight was the retired former world champion Carl Froch. The Briton has (rightfully, of course) given Ngannou his credit for dropping and nearly outpointing Fury, but the contrast in his pre and post-fight statements make for some interesting reading.
BEFORE THE FIGHT
“Listen, this is a f*ckng sparring session, probably the easiest spar he’s ever had,” Froch said of Fury’s approach to the bout, via Best Gambling Sites. “I don’t care that Ngannou can punch. A mule can kick really hard, but he’s never going to be able to line it up.
“Fury’s not going to be worried about getting hit by that monstrous punch because I’ve seen Ngannou on the pads and he looks terrible,” Froch added. “He looks like what I’d expect a zero fight novice to look like. Slow, awkward, stiff. How is he going to get near Fury? He’s going to get his head absolutely peppered off.
“By announcing Fury-Usyk is definitely happening, all of sudden everyone’s tails are wagging and ears have pricked up,” Froch added. “Now they’re all probably going to tune into the Ngannou fight on the back of that, because now there’s interest in what Fury’s looking like. It’s perfect timing for the announcement and the skeptics will say ‘What if Fury gets injured?’”
AFTER THE FIGHT
“I thought the fight was really good. Francis Ngannou got in there and put on an absolute sterling performance,” said Froch on his YouTube channel, via Boxing247. “Ngannou was in the fight. He was moving his head well, he was well balanced… he was landing the bigger, harder, hurtful shots. I thought Ngannou won the fight. I scored it that he won the fight two or three rounds at least. With the knockdown, I thought he deserved to get his hand held at the end.
“I think the reason that the fight was in Tyson Fury’s favor last night was purely because this fight they’ve been talking about on the 23rd of December. Tyson Fury, Oleksandry Usyk unification fight, Undisputed—that’s what we want to see and that’s what we should be getting. That’s the reason I think that Ngannou didn’t get the nod last night. For me, it’s corruption.
“It’s corruption at the highest level. They’ve gone out to Saudi Arabia, all that money’s on the line. Everything’s geared towards the big fight with Fury and Usyk. Ngannou gets in there and puts a proper spanner in the works. He gave Tyson Fury a bit of a beating, dropped him, made him look stupid, and he’s a novice professional. When Tyson Fury got out of the ring, his left eye was closing, he got a small cut above his head, he looked like he’d been beat up.
“Can I just say as well, what a gentleman Ngannou is, so magnanimous in defeat. He was just like he thought he’d won. He didn’t bicker about it. He held himself proud, really did. He did himself, his country, and his family proud because he put on an absolutely brilliant performance. I thought he deserved the win, and he didn’t moan about it.”