Tyson Fury controversially defeated Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia
Francis Ngannou deserves to be ranked by the WBC after his controversial defeat to Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night. That’s the view of World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman who witnessed a contest that came close to delivering one of the biggest upsets in the sport’s recent history.
Without a single professional boxing appearance to his name, former UFC world champion Ngannou was a rank outsider against reigning WBC heavyweight champion Fury but the African fighter made a mockery of their vastly-different pedigrees with an impressive performance.
And in the third round, he delivered a huge blow to the side of the Gypsy King’s head that put him on the canvas. Fury was able to recover and slowly edge himself back into the contest but after the 10-round fight reached its conclusion, it appeared as though Ngannou would take a points decision.
But instead, it was Fury who emerged victorious after one judge scored the contest 96-93 for Nagannou but the other two scored it 95-94 in Fury’s favour, resulting in a dubious win for the Brit.
Although Fury left Saudi Arabia as the winner, it was Ngannou who was getting all the plaudits and he could now be rewarded with a top-10 ranking from the WBC.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the fight, Sulaiman said: “What I personally witnessed last night is a solid boxer, who deserves to be ranked by the WBC and I will make such recommendations to the ratings committee.”
A top-ten ranking would put Ngannou above the likes of Daniel Dubois and Filip Hrgovic although there are suggestions that the 37-year-old Cameroon national could return to UFC next year.
The possible ranking of Ngannou mirrors that of Jake Paul, who was told by the WBC that he would be officially ranked in the cruiserweight division had he won his own first professional boxing contest against Tommy Fury. That would have given the YouTube star a potential fight for a belt but he was beaten by Fury and remains without a ranking.
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However, the performance of Tyson Fury’s opponent in Riyadh has got people talking and even though he was harshly denied victory it does not appear to have dampened the WBC’s enthusiasm to rank him anyway.
Tyson meanwhile, is expected to face Oleksandr Usyk next in a four-belt unification match, which has been touted for December 23 but may end up taking place in early 2024, once again in Saudi Arabia.
Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk told Sky Sports: “Everyone, including Usyk, did not give much chance to Ngannou. But the man has shocked the world.
“Fury underestimated his opponent. Arrogance, lack of discipline, and thirst for money lead to these kind of circumstances. But we have December 23 inked and Fury cannot escape that.”
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