Instead of being the expected cakewalk for ‘The Gypsy King’, the WBC and lineal world heavyweight champion was made to dig very very deep to claim a hotly-disputed victory by split decision.
It was the first professional boxing fight of Ngannou’s life, and boy did he ace the test – ramming Fury’s words right back down his throat in the process.
Ngannou on Fury fight
Ngannou, speaking in a post-fight debrief on his own YouTube channel, explained that Fury had said he would be taken to school just before the fight began. Less than three rounds later Tyson was on his back, and Ngannou was having the last laugh.
Francis said: “When we touched gloves, he’s like ‘let me take you to school’. I’m like ‘you motherf***er, you’re not taking me to school’.
“That’s why like, when I knocked him down, I was dancing in front, like ‘you a bad professor, motherf***er’. You a bad professor, how is that school going?. Who is taking who to school? Because to me it looks like I’m the one taking you to school’.”
For one so new to the sport of boxing, Ngannou showed incredible ring smarts, as he gave the slickest heavyweight around a real run for his money. He explained one key tactic which helped his cause.
Southpaw stance key to success
“One thing that happened – southpaw. I switched to southpaw. The first time, as soon as I switched, he did the same. But he wasn’t that confident because for me it was easy, his jab from the southpaw wasn’t efficient at all, it was easy for me to slip and move on his left and get this angle that he was very exposed.
“So I realised that and I was using that a lot. At some point in the fight when I was wanting him to give me space, I was switching to southpaw. My southpaw was making him think ‘okay, what do I do?’ I’m more efficient in southpaw than him, in southpaw my left hand goes faster and good.
“I didn’t land because I think my footwork wasn’t sharp at that moment, I wasn’t bringing my back feet with me. So my back hand was coming up short, but again it was fast and everything and that’s how I was able to get into the fight.”