Tyson Fury insists he didn’t underestimate Francis Ngannou: ‘He was an awkward man’

Tyson Fury rejects the notion he didn’t take Francis Ngannou seriously.

Fury was an overwhelming favorite against Ngannou in their crossover boxing match, which took place Saturday in Saudi Arabia, but barely scraped by with a split decision win. Fury even was knocked down by Ngannou in Round 3.

Fury, the WBC heavyweight champion, admits he didn’t know what to expect from Ngannou, who was making his pro boxing debut in the wake of his departure from the UFC while its heavyweight champion. But that doesn’t mean he took him lightly.

“No, didn’t underestimate him,” Fury said in an interview with iFL TV. “I trained for 12 weeks, gave it the best preparation I could have done, and that’s it. We didn’t know how good he was or how bad he was. There was no footage of him – I’d never seen the man fight before as a boxer – and that was it. He was a lot more awkward than I thought he’d be. … He was an awkward man. He was good at what he was doing, so fair play to him.

“I don’t take anything away from him. He gave me a better fight than all the boxers did in the last 10 years. I think that’s been the toughest fight I’ve had for years – not so much my toughest fight for years, but maybe he won the 10-8 round, and maybe he won one other round. But other than that, I was just boxing him and he couldn’t really close the distance down on me. At points it was tough, but not so much the other way.”

Many were outraged two judges scored the fight in favor of Fury, including Ngannou, but Fury said the metrics suggest otherwise.

“I’m not a boxing judge, but I can clearly see he didn’t win the fight by the punch stats,” Fury said. “If he would have won the fight, they would have given it to him. It wasn’t my own show, was it?”

For more on the matchup, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Fury vs. Ngannou.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie