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The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Tyson Fury Defeats Francis Ngannou in Controversial Bout

AP Photo / Yazeed Aldhawaihi

In a close and controversial decision, heavyweight champion Tyson Fury defeated rookie Francis Ngannou on Saturday, Oct. 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. While Fury clinched the win, many viewers disagreed with the decision, arguing that Ngannou outfought Fury.  

On May 16, Ngannou signed with PFL after leaving the UFC. As the UFC heavyweight titleholder, leaving was bold. However, according to ESPN, there were major disagreements about his future in the sport, ultimately motivating him to leave.

The match was Ngannou’s debut — not only in the heavyweight division, but in boxing in general. The 37-year-old from Cameroon picked a difficult first opponent after transitioning over from MMA; Fury, arguably the best heavyweight boxer in the world, was favored 14-1 to win the match and maintain his undefeated record, per ESPN. 

While many went into the fight calling the contest a “money grab, per CBS Sports, viewers were heavily invested in the result, arguing that the heavyweight bout turned into the biggest upset in boxing history. 

The decision went to the judges, who all scored the two closely. Ultimately, one judge was in favor of Ngannou, scoring the match 95-94, and the other two in favor of Fury, scoring it 96-93 and 95-94, according to ESPN

In the third round, Ngannou hit Fury with a left hook, leveling Fury before making the rest of the match extremely competitive. 

While Fury may have bested the Cameroonian on the judges’ scorecards, Ngannou clinched the title in the eyes of the public. Boxing expert Marc Raimondi called Ngannou “the star of the show on Saturday night,” per ESPN, and Skysports pointed out that “the consensus view seems to be that it should have gone Ngannou’s way.”

Ngannou agreed, taking to social media on the following Monday to express his opinion.

“I got robbed by those judges. […] I really believe that I won that fight,” Ngannou said, according to Skysports.

Also reflecting on the fight, Fury gave the rookie Ngannou a lot of credit.

“[…] He’s a very awkward man, and he’s a good puncher, and I respect him a lot […]. He’s given me probably one of my toughest fights in the last ten years,” Fury said, per ESPN.

Regardless of the outcome, the fight was extremely beneficial financially for Ngannou. He was reportedly expected to make around ten million dollars from the fight, win or lose, according to ESPN. Compared to his UFC fights, he made exponentially more, and giving Fury a good fight put his name in the spotlight, lining him up for more major fights in the future. According to boxing specialist Marc Raimondi, as reported by ESPN, Ngannou “won before he even stepped in the ring.”

Fury now must prepare himself for a historic, four-belt undisputed title bout against Oleksandr Usyk amid a mountain of doubt. The close call against Ngannou adds even more pressure to his already difficult matchup against Usyk.

Onlookers have also called attention to the setting of the fight amid extreme controversy surrounding Saudi Arabia’s involvement and monopolization in sports. National voices such as ESPN’s Brett Okamoto have relayed this message across national media.

“The impact of Saudi Arabia’s money into combat sports, and sports in general, throws every rule and limitation we’ve ever known about events out the window,” Okamoto said.

This contributes to ongoing discussions regarding Saudi Arabia and “sportswashing,” a term used to describe when “countries with ugly human rights records buy goodwill by spending lavishly on sports events,” as defined by CBC Sports. This has been seen in countless other sports as well, most notably golf, soccer and basketball. Because of Saudi Arabia’s financial incentives, CBC Sports notes that fighting there is “a heck of a business decision.”

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