Joe Calzaghe Shocked By Fury Split Decision Win Over Ngannou
By Sean Jones: Joe Calzaghe was in shock after witnessing Tyson Fury coming close to losing to former UFC champion Francis Ngannou in the ‘Battle of the Baddest’ contest on Saturday night.
Calzaghe says he didn’t think Ngannou (0-1) could box going into the fight, so he was surprised when he saw his form and how much trouble he was giving Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs), who some fans feel is the #1 heavyweight in the division.
Fury looked no different than how he’d performed in his fights with Deontay Wilder. The 35-year-old was the same guy and fighting as well as he had in the past. This was the same Fury. He looked outstanding, but Ngannou was all wrong for him and his style.
Fury would have beaten anybody in the division tonight with ease, but Ngannou was kryptonite for his style.
Ngannou took Fury’s best shots without getting hurt, and he wasn’t worn down by the inside grappling that he attempted. Fury had tired out Dillian Whyte & Wilder by leaning on them and hitting them with short clubbing shots at close range.
Tonight, Fury couldn’t do that because Ngannou was too strong on the inside, and he outmuscled Fury & twisted him like a pretzel when he tried to wrestle. Moreover, Ngannou was hitting Fury with short punches in close that he was not comfortable with at all.
In the last four rounds, Fury looked like he was afraid to tie up with Ngannou in a clinch for fear of getting roughed up and hit with close-range punches.
After getting dropped by a counter left hand by Ngannou in the third, Fury had to reach deep to win a 10 round split decision in their fight on ESPN+ PPV at the Boulevard Hall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Two judges scored it for Fury 96-93, 95-94, while the third had Ngannou winning 95-94.
The former undisputed super middleweight champion Calzaghe blames Fury’s off-performance on ring rust from being out of the ring for ten months since his victory over Dereck Chisora last December.
What seemed to bother Fury was the left hook counters that Ngannou was hitting him with. When Fury would load up on his right hands, Ngannou would return fire with a compact left hook, which he was never ready for.
Ngannou stunned Fury with a left hook in the eighth round that had his eyes rolling. It looked like Fury was momentarily knocked senseless from the punch but didn’t go down from it.
“I was shocked. I didn’t think Tyson was himself tonight. I think he underestimated Ngannou. He was a good boxer,” said Joe Calzaghe to Boxing King media, talking about Tyson Fury’s fight tonight against Francis Ngannou.
Calzaghe is wrong. Fury was himself tonight, but the way he’s changed his fighting style since teaming up with SugarHill Steward by making grappling a huge part of his game, it was not going to work against an MMA guy with the power & outstanding game of the 270+ lb Ngannou, who is pure muscle.
Fury weighed in the 270s, but he was carrying around a lot of fat, and he didn’t have the strength. If you subtracted the fat that Fury had on his frame, he was closer to 230 lbs, trying to wrestle a guy that is 270 lbs of pure muscle. It wasn’t going to work. Ngannou was too strong and too powerful.
“Tyson wasn’t himself tonight, but he will next time,” Calzaghe continued with his theme of Tyson not being at his best. “I didn’t see anything in Ngannou [ahead of the fight]. I didn’t think he could box. He showed good form, he had good skills, and he was strong. The fight was a lot closer than I thought it would be.
“I’m not sure. Maybe Ngannou has boxed a bit in the past. As an MMA fighter, he’s better at the standup and boxes better than on the floor,” said Calzaghe when asked why Ngannou was able to do so well against a boxer.
“With Tyson, obviously, he wasn’t at his best tonight. He was a big ring rusty, but he got the win. So thank God for that. Yeah, he [Ngannou] was switching [stances], so that may have made it a bit awkward for him [Fury] with him switching and him not expecting it.
“The next step is the Usyk fight, and I’m sure that’ll be a completely different Tyson Fury in that fight,” said Calzaghe.