World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury beat mixed martial arts fighter Francis Ngannou in a split decision after their boxing bout went the distance in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Ngannou knocked Fury down in round three, but the 35-year-old British fighter, though shaken, could 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.
Fury’s WBC heavyweight belt was not on the line in the “Battle of the Baddest” in Riyadh. Still, Saudi officials hoped it would further boost the Gulf kingdom’s reputation as a top-flight boxing destination.
With all parties desperate to lend the contest some sporting legitimacy, the WBC had fashioned a “Riyadh Champion” belt to allow the winner to strut around the ring at the end with something other than a big, fat cheque.
Fury has been linked with a £50 million ($60.6 million) payout from Sunday’s exhibition bout, while he has said in the British press that Ngannou will earn £10 million.
Credit: Daily Mail