By Steve Kim Updated on October 30, 2023

Fury Loses in Winning

Picture for Fury Loses in Winning

A funny thing happened in Saudi Arabia this past weekend as Tyson Fury engaged with Francis Ngannou in what was supposed to be a relatively easy -- and lucrative -- night at the office for the WBC heavyweight champion.

In the words of Duke to Apollo Creed during his first bout against Rocky -- Ngannou didn't think it was a damn show, he thought it was a damn fight.

Picture for Fury Loses in WinningMikey Williams/Top Rank

And with that, Fury saw himself on the canvas in round three. It's not clear if he was more hurt or embarrassed by what took place, but it signaled that this was going to be a much more arduous task than anticipated.

Tyson Fury Survives Knockdown, Gets Decision Win Over Francis Ngannou | FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS


“It’s part of boxing. I got caught behind the head again," explained Fury. "My legs weren’t hurt or nothing. I was alright. And I got back up and it was what it was. And I got back to my boxing. I don’t know how close it was. But I got the win, and that’s what it is.”

As the rounds went on in this scheduled 10-rounder, the expected take-over from Fury never really materialized. Truth to be told, this wasn't really all that much of a fight in terms of two-way action. The intrigue was in seeing Ngannou, a mere novice at boxing, actually holding his own in there, and making Fury a bit uneasy in there.

Picture for Fury Loses in WinningMikey Williams/Top Rank

The man who has claimed he's the greatest heavyweight there ever was, really couldn't do much with this MMA guy. Now, it's safe to assume that Ngannou probably took this assignment much more seriously than Fury did. Yet it was still interesting to see that at times it was Ngannou who looked much more willing to mix it up than the natural boxer. After all, the boxing ring was Fury's natural habitat. 

"That definitely wasn’t in the script. He’s one hell of a fighter," admitted Fury, who sported a blackened left eye. "He’s strong, a big puncher, and a lot better as a boxer than we thought he would ever be. He’s a very awkward man, and he’s a good puncher. I respect him a lot, before the fight and afterward. He was very awkward. He wasn’t coming forward. He was standing back and waiting for me to land my punches and then try to counter. He’s a good fighter. He’s given me one of my toughest fights in the last 10 years."

After 10 rounds, it was Fury who escaped via split decision by the scores of 96-93, 94-95 and 95-94.

Picture for Fury Loses in WinningMikey Williams/Top Rank

But for Ngannou it was win. Not only did he go the distance, there is a large contingent of observers who believed he actually won this contest.

Ngannou said, "We can run it back again, and I’m sure I will get the better. This was my first boxing match. It was a great experience. I’m not giving any excuse. I know I came up short. But I’m going to go back and work harder with a little more experience and a little more feeling of the game. And I will come back even stronger. 

"At first, I was a little nervous. This is a new sport that I never did. Now I know I can do this sh*t. So, get ready!"

Yeah, maybe I'm being a prisoner of the moment, but I don't want to hear any more about Fury being among the all-time great heavyweights -- at least not now.  I have no arguments with him being the best of this generation, but I just have a hard time believing that a Muhammad Ali or Joe Frazier would ever have this much problem with a guy who had never boxed before. (Admittedly, Ali didn't look that great against Lyle Alzado, by my point still stands.)

Argue with me all you want, my statement isn't as off-base as those who have stated that 'the Gypsy King'  was in the pantheon of the best big men. I mean, look at his heavyweight run. It basically consists of Wladimir Klitschko and the flawed-but-dangerous Deontay Wilder(twice). In-between there are elongated layoffs and soft defenses.

Picture for Fury Loses in WinningMikey Williams/Top Rank

And with the nature of this latest win, word is that he will not be facing unified champion, Oleksandr Usyk, will now take place in the first quarter of 2024, rather than December 23. With a dominant effort in capturing the undisputed heavyweight title, Fury will regain some of the respect he had before this event in Riyadh.

As for this weekend, Fury lost in winning. 



Meanwhile in Mexico, it was no Cancun vacation for WBC 130-pound belt-holder, O'Shaquie Foster, who had to go on the road to defend his belt for the first time against the rugged Rocky Hernandez.

And as expected, it was a tough battle that saw Hernandez come forward and swarm him with a two-fisted attack as Foster laid on the ropes. But the native of Houston was able to keep his composure, finding  counter-punching opportunities. The reality is though he was being out-worked, and was falling behind on the cards. 

Foster was the stronger fighter down the stretch. After winning the 10th, Foster and Hernandez engaged in what was probably the round of the year. Foster looked to have Hernandez out on his feet and ready to go, but Hernandez somehow turned things around in the last minute of the memorable 11th frame. 

Round of 2023? O'Shaquie Foster vs Rocky Hernandez - Round 11 

Down on two of the scorecards going into the 12th, Foster completed the rally by sending Hernandez down twice. The bout was waved off  by referee, Hector Afu, at 2:38 of the round. A dramatic finish to one of the best bouts of 2023.

Picture for Fury Loses in WinningMatchroom Boxing/Ed Mulholland

With this momentous victory, Foster could be in line for a lucrative unification bout against IBF titlist Joe Cordina, who faces Edward Vazquez in Monte Carlo this upcoming weekend. And yes, he'll have to go on the road, again. 

But hey, it's a living. 


About Author
Fury Loses in Winning
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for
  • Was a boxing reporter for from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.