While controversial, the battle between the “baddest” men in combat sports has opened the door for bigger fights.
In boxing, especially in the heavyweight division, fights of this magnitude are rare. While heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has been in more memorable fights in recent years, his latest bout with former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is on a different level.
Fury and Ngannou, each regarded as the “baddest man” in their respective sport, made this heavily speculated match into reality and it did not disappoint. From an electric promo video to personal storylines like Ngannou fulfilling his dream of becoming a boxer and Fury facing Mike Tyson, the boxer he was named after, in the corner opposing him.
Even though Fury walked away with the win (and a black eye), Ngannou won the respect of fans and doubters but the winners and losers of this clash of titans go beyond the scorecards.
Winner – Francis Ngannou
While he did not leave the ring with an official win, Ngannou surprised his doubters in both the MMA and boxing worlds. Besides going the distance and knocking down the reigning champ, Ngannou looked confident in the ring and was willing to go blow-for-blow against Fury.
While there were moments when Tyson outboxed Ngannou, from head movement, defense and precise striking, Ngannou stood his ground. If Ngannou chooses to pursue his dream of boxing, his future looks like it can carry the gold hardware.
Winner – Combat sports fans
When I say combat sports fans, I mean true enthusiasts of either MMA or boxing. Fans who want to see the big fights happen regardless of how they feel about a fighter unlike UFC loyalists and boxing snobs.
Two accomplished fighters put on a show and brought two worlds together. Hopefully, a rematch and similar crossover fights could happen down the road.
Loser – Tyson Fury
Critics will say Fury didn’t take the fight seriously because of his physique, but he has always won with that type of body. Fury’s only red flag was the announcement of a fight with Oleksandr Usyk while in training camp for his fight with Ngannou.
That was the indicator that Fury wasn’t taking this non-title defense fight seriously. Ultimately, stacking his plate up with these two fights did not end well since Ngannou put him on notice.
Fans will have to wait and see how this will affect Fury’s performance against Usyk, where he will defend his title.
Loser – Dana White
From leaving the UFC, signing with the Pro Fight League and taking on the fight he’s dreamed about, Ngannou proved Dana White wrong for pushing the narrative that Ngannou wanted a career with “no risks.”
It seems White will only give the push to his “guys” like Connor McGregor in the boxing world. With current UFC Bantamweight champion “Suga” Sean O’Malley exchanging words with boxer Gervonta “Tank” Davis, White will have to do his best to prevent any more crossover fights.
Winner and loser – Boxing
Whether you like it or not, boxing has been taken over by the social media influencer scene. If you’re a boxing purist, seeing random social media stars fight for absurd promotions has made the sport a mockery of its former glory.
The last big fight to happen in boxing was Ryan Garcia vs. Gervonta Davis and the last huge crossover fight was Connor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather in 2017. So how did boxing win? The fight brought in viewers from both sides of the combat sports world as well as casuals.
How did boxing lose? Firstly, one of boxing’s most prominent stars was worked by a mixed martial artist. Secondly, the world saw the “politics” of boxing— if you can’t knock out the champion, you’ll lose in the scorecards.