By Victor Kanayo
After being knocked down, World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury was adjudged winner over mixed martial arts fighter Francis Ngannou via a split decision in a fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday.
Ngannou, 37, put Fury on the canvas in round three after connecting with a left hook in a fight tagged ‘Battle of the Baddest’, though shaken, was able to continue.
The undefeated Fury earlier this week laughed off his opponent as a “big fat sausage” but afterward acknowledged that the 37-year-old Cameroonian had effectively kept him off-balance.
“He’s a very awkward man, and he’s a good puncher and I respect him a lot,” Fury said of Ngannou, adding that it was “probably one of the toughest” fights he has had in a decade.
Fury was linked with a £50 million ($60.6 million) payout from Sunday’s exhibition bout.
He later said in the British press that Ngannou will earn £10 million.
Fury’s victory means a blockbuster bout with fellow heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, who holds the WBA, WBO and IBF titles, which has been signed, remains on the horizon, already mooted for December 23, 2023.