Zhilei Zhang was no fan of the way Tyson Fury comported himself in the ring against Francis Ngannou.
The Chinese heavyweight contender joined legions of viewers who felt England’s Fury, the WBC titlist, woefully underperformed against the untested Ngannou of Cameroon in their high-profile 10-round heavyweight contest on Saturday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Ngannou, who made his professional boxing debut on this night, scored a shocking knockdown of Fury in the third round but would go on to lose by razor close split decision.
One judge had Ngannou winning 95-94, but he was overruled by two other judges that had it 95-94 and 96-93 for Fury.
Zhang felt Ngannou did enough to eke out a win, which the Chinese southpaw viewed as disgraceful, considering Fury’s credentials.
“To be honest with you, I got Francis Ngannou [winning],” Zhang told Boxing News. “If you count that knockdown, it’s a 10-8 round. And throughout the whole fight, he was landing more power shots and he was being aggressive. Fury didn’t throw a lot of punches for some reason. He was just holding himself back and controlling the distance with his jab.
“I think it’s a night of shame for the sport of professional boxing.”
Zhang, who is coming off a second consecutive stoppage of Joe Joyce in the fall, felt Fury’s performance damaged boxing’s reputation.
“To be honest, I think it’s bad for boxing,” Zhang said. “People like myself we’re training hard every day and we want to deliver a professional performance and what Fury did last night was just bad for the sport of boxing. He might have money and people behind him to support him but in another way it’s just bad for the sport overall.”
Fury is now expected to enter into an undisputed heavyweight championship against WBO, WBA, IBO, IBF champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.