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Tyson Fury focuses on Usyk after controversial Ngannou win

Tyson Fury survived an almighty scare to controversially beat former UFC fighter Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia in a split decision victory - and has now turned his attention to his huge heavyweight showdown with Oleksandr Usyk.

Fury was expected to outclass Ngannou, who was fighting in his first-ever professional boxing bout, but he was sensationally knocked down by his Cameroon-born opponent in the third round.

Fury was able to regain his composure but he was never properly in control against Ngannou in Riyadh, despite his significantly greater boxing experience.

Massive upset looked on

As the fight progressed it looked like Fury was going to be on the end of one of the biggest shocks in the history of the sport but he prevailed by split decision with one judge scoring the contest 95-94 in favour of Ngannou and two giving it to Fury at 96-93 and 95-94.

Even though the 'Gypsy King's' WBC heavyweight belt was not on the line, it was still a stunning spectacle as the Briton was surprisingly severely tested by Ngannou in front of a star-studded audience.

Afterwards, Fury admitted he had been in a bruising fight with Ngannou, who is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, as he just about edged the cross-over bout which had been termed "Battle of the Baddest".

‘Not in the script’

"That definitely wasn't in the script," he told TNT Sports. "I got caught round the back of the head [for the knockdown]. I wasn't hurt. I got up and got back to my boxing.

"He's an awkward man and a good puncher and I respect him a lot. He's given me one of my toughest fights of the last 10 years."

Fury confirmed in the aftermath that he will take on Usyk next in what is a highly-anticipated showdown between two of the best heavyweights to ever grace the ring.

Fury and Usyk square off

The two rivals, who have agreed to a huge unification fight with Ukrainian star Usyk holding the WBA, WBO and IBF belts, squared off after Fury's victory on Saturday night with the Gypsy King declaring: "Let's go! Let's go now if you want. It'll be our next fight guaranteed."

Usyk responded in similar fashion, saying "Let's go. "I'm going to be fighting him, amazing."

A date has yet to be confirmed for the Usyk-Fury fight and there were claims they could even arrange it for December, although a date in early 2024 - probably in March or April - seems more likely, with Saudi Arabia again the expected venue.

Fury, who now has an unbeaten pro record of 34 wins from 35 fights with one draw, will know he must improve for the huge Usyk clash as the Ukrainian star has a perfect 21 from 21 winning record.

Usyk has power to hurt Fury

He demonstrated his awesome power when beating Anthony Joshua twice, first of all in London in 2021 and then in Saudi Arabia a year later, and he was most recently seen outclassing another Brit, Daniel Dubois, in Poland in August. 

Despite having problems against Ngannou, Fury is the 1/2 favourite to beat Usyk, who is 13/8 to win the fight.

Ngannou vows to return

As for Ngannou, he demonstrated his ability as a boxer and shocked plenty with his performance against Fury to suggest he has a bright future as a heavyweight himself.

The 37-year-old revealed he was carrying an injury and says the fight has given him the belief he can compete with the best boxers in the world.

There was some talk of a rematch but Fury's attention appears to have turned to Usyk now, with Ngannou respectfully accepting the judges' decision in Riyadh even though plenty of observers were talking up the possibility of a stunning surprise win before the result was announced.

"My training camp was only three and a half months and I came into this with an injury," Ngannou said. "But I don't want to give excuses. I will look at what I can do next to improve my game to come back even better.

"Now I know I can do this, get ready. The wolf is in the house."

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