Francis Ngannou apparently won’t be taking much stock into his official boxing record.
As far as the former UFC champion from Cameroon is concerned, he basically defeated the top heavyweight boxer in the world—in what was his boxing debut, no less.
Ngannou came up short last Saturday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in his ballyhooed 10-round “crossover” showdown against WBC titlist Tyson Fury of England, but he was competitive throughout the fight, and even sent Fury crashing to the canvas via a looping left hook in the third round.
In the end, Fury won narrowly on the scorecards, with two judges scoring it 96-93 and 95-94 for the Brit. One judge scored it 95-94 for the 37-year-old Ngannou.
After the fight, many notable people across sports insisted that Ngannou was “robbed” of what would have been a monumental upset, including Ngannou himself.
“Waking up today, I just remembered I’m the guy that just defeated the number one heavyweight boxer in the world,” Ngannou said in a video posted on his social media. “And that I’m the damn man—even though I got robbed by those judges.
“Yes, I really believe I won that fight. I should’ve done better but still I won that fight. So keep it up. I keep my eyes on him and hopefully we’ll get a rematch. This time things are definitely going to be different.”
Fury’s relatively shaky win has nonetheless preserved his upcoming undisputed championship against unified champion Oleksandr Usyk.
However, it is not clear when that fight will take place. There were rumors that Dec. 23 was the target date, but Fury and his promoter, Frank Warren, have insisted that Fury will not fight until early next, possibly as late as February. (Fury was seen with a significantly bruised left eye in interviews conducted the day after.)
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.