TYSON FURY is facing UFC legend Francis Ngannou in a historic crossover fight in Saudi Arabia – and he has been KNOCKED DOWN!
But the big main event has started later than planned after epic opening ceremony. A win for Ngannou would be among the sport’s greatest shocks while Fury would suffer a disastrous defeat.
And Oleksandr Usyk is waiting in the wings ringside with their mega undisputed heavyweight title bout set to be confirmed tonight for December 23.
BETTING SPECIAL – GET FURY TO WIN AT HUGE 30/1
Follow ALL of the latest updates below…
Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou (Round 6)
Francis Ngannou is just so physically strong. He’s absorbed everything Tyson’s thrown at him. Fury needs to raise the tempo and test his challenger’s fitness.
Another right hand from Fury that just bounces off Ngannou. The former UFC champion is still throwing, but there’s a noticeable drop off in intensity.
Ngannou has done so much in those opening rounds, will they be enough to see him to victory?
Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou (Round 5)
Tyson Fury has regained his composure, and he’s boxing from range. Occasionally dipping in to land a stiff jab – but he can’t get Francis Ngannou to come forward. The MMA superstar is staying compact.
Snap! Great combination from Fury, who delivers his best moment of the fight. Much cleaner work but it’s still a monster task from here.
Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou (Round 4)
Francis Ngannou is working well behind his jab. He’s patient, he’s accurate and he’s roughing Tyson Fury up!
Fury does look to have his legs back and he’s landed a few decent blows – but Ngannou is unmoved and steadfast. Carl Frampton has Ngannou winning all four rounds so far, and it’s hard to disagree.
Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou (Round 3)
DOWN GOES FURY!
You are kidding me?! Francis Ngannou drops Tyson Fury to the deck with a left hook to the temple from the Gods! Fury rolls off the canvas and back to his feet fairly swiftly and blows his cheeks. He looks rattled.
Fury survives to the end of the round, but how will he respond to that?
Oh, I forgot to mention – Ngannou laughed and danced in Fury’s face while he was on the deck.
Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou (Round 2)
Has Francis Ngannou read the script? Everyone was expecting the former UFC champion to come out swinging wildly, but he’s not taking the bait. He’s keeping his range and not getting involved in a scrap.
There’s also blood coming from above the left eye of Fury! Ngannou either got him with a swinging left hook or there was a clash of heads. It’s tough to see.
He switches to southpaw, which has to be a sign of respect for his opponent.
Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou (Round 1)
No time wasted! Tyson Fury is straight out and lands with a stiff jab. Francis Ngannou takes it well and goes on the front foot.
Fury gets angry when Ngannou doesn’t release from the clinch, and is given a swift ticking off from the referee.
Ngannou flicks out a double jab and lands a shot to Fury’s body. It’s actually been a very impressive start from the MMA star, who’s showing good patience, composure and is picking his shots.
One or two words exchanged when the bell rings. Impressive.
We’ve made it
Ok folks, the fighters are in the ring, the robes and crowns are off and Michael Buffer is doing the introductions. We’re just moments away from discovering who is the baddest man on the planet.
Not so fast
Don’t you dare think this is going to start now. I’m starting to think this could be the most expensive and sophisticated prank ever played on a global audience.
The Saudi Arabian, English and Cameroon national anthems are about to begin.
It’s very clear who the fans inside the arena are supporting. The volume turns up six notches when the Gypsy King strolls out to Jolene by Dolly Parton.
Again, Fury is on the throne in a gold robe with a crown as flames shoot up from the floor. He shadow boxes on his way to the ring as the song switches to Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison.
I feel like I’m describing a dream I had.
“Ladies and gentlemen, who will be the baddest man on the planet? Let’s get this paaaaarty started,” announces the legendary Michael Buffer from the middle of the ring.
Started From the Bottom by Drake blares from the sound system as Francis Ngannou emerges on stage.
He’s sat on a throne, adorned in a gold robe with a crown on. Mike Tyson stood beside him in a suit. Iron Mike follows him down the ramp giving advice until the very last moment.
I’m no entrance expert, but that was clunky to say the least.
That MUST mean we’re close.
TNT Sports are showing pictures of Tyson Fury being dressed up in some kind of robe, and a crown placed on his head. Steve Bunce thinks the “Gypsy King” is looking pensive. I agree.
Oleksandr Usyk isn’t looking pensive. He’s belting out Sweet Caroline at the top of his lungs.
Is this an educational trip for Oleksandr Usyk?
The WBA, WBO and IBF champion is scheduled to fight Tyson Fury at this location on December 23 to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.
But with the best will in the world, he’s probably not going to learn a lot when Fury is fighting a boxing novice.
He’s still doing Usyk things though.
The ring has risen
The ring actually rose from under the ground in the opening ceremony.
And it is now in place and looking ready to go!
SunSport has the latest from inside the arena.
The arena is slowly but surely recovering from the energy-sapping ‘opening ceremony’, and Freed From Desire by Gala Rizzatto is doing most of the heavy lifting.
It does look a sell-out.
Well it’s been a nightmare trying to decipher anything from Francis Ngannou’s open workout. All answers are basically wrong.
There wasn’t too much in the way of footwork, while his head movement and speed were also noticeably slow. Then again, many have said he’s conserving energy.
He was breathing quite heavily after unleashing a few rockets. Then again, many have said that he’s making himself look worse on purpose.
Glad to have answered no questions there.
Well that’s perked me up.
TNT Sports were hailing the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and the fans inside the arena all booed on mass.
Quite surprising given he plays for Al-Nassr, who are based in the city of Riyadh. Must be a lot of Al-Hilal ultras in there tonight.
Eminem and Oleksandr Usyk got huge cheers by the way.
Here IT comes
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome… the boxing ring!
The stage just moved backwards, and the ring has emerged from underground. That was cool, if not a little cute.
Undercard – done. Entertainment – done. The main event is upon us, folks. I promise.
3 reasons why
Francis Ngannou has delivered three reasons why he’s going to win tonight.
- I’m stronger
- I’m more hungry
- I’m dedicated
That didn’t work at my last job interview, and I’m not convinced it’s going to work tonight, mate. Love the confidence though.
Performances are still ongoing. Just going to let the dog out, back in five…
Ok, let’s get back to fighting.
As we know, Mike Tyson is Francis Ngannou’s mentor for this contest, but he really does fancy his fighter to pull off an upset.
Why? Well because the former UFC champion punched an opponent so hard in training that he broke his leg. You read that right.
“At first when this came to me, I said ‘there’s no way this is going to happen’,” Tyson said.
“Then I watched him spar and he hit this guy and he broke his leg when he went down — and I said ‘man, there is a possibility something good could happen here’.
“I have never seen anything like that before. If he could do that man, he could possibly be heavyweight champion of the world.”
The entertainment is still going. It’s approaching 1am in Riyadh.
Try pulling this on the regulars at York Hall, you’d have a riot on your hands.
The ceremony begins
Turki al-Sheikh delivers a quick pre-recorded speech, and the music starts with a very impressive lights show.
Who is performing? No, seriously, who is this?
I’m reliably informed it’s Flowdan, and Wikipedia tells me he’s an English grime MC and record producer from Bow and Poplar, East London.
He’s swiftly followed by Lil Baby. I’m not even going to search for him.
Massive congratulations are in order. The greatest of all time has managed to get himself a picture with Cristiano Ronaldo.
That’ll be framed and on the mantel piece shortly.
Sheikh-en, not stirred
What’s the state of play? Well, we’re waiting. Patiently.
It looks as though the arena has filled up and everything’s ready to go for the super secret opening ceremony to kick-start Riyadh Season.
But… we can’t start the event until Turki al-Sheikh takes his seat, and he’s nowhere to be seen.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s prediction
That’s admittedly a misleading headline, he really doesn’t have one.
Asked who he thinks will win, he smiles and says: “They are both my friends, let’s see.”
Never broke stride while not answering the question. A true professional.
No, not that show. Riyadh Season will officially begin with an opening ceremony in a few moments.
Reports suggest it’s been arranged by the same producers who do the Olympic Games ceremonies and Super Bowl half-time shows.
Expectations are high, then again, my favourite band are The Kinks and I have my doubts Ray Davies will be strolling out on stage.
Source: Boxing - thesun.co.uk