WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury claimed a controversial split decision victory over former UFC fighter Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia.
Ngannou, 37, put Fury on the canvas in round three after connecting with a left hook.
It was gathered that one judge scored it 95-94 in favour of Ngannou, two gave it to Fury at 96-93 and 95-94.
Fury said: “I got caught round the back of the head [for the knockdown]. I wasn’t hurt. I got up and got back to my boxing.
“He’s an awkward man and a good puncher and I respect him a lot. He’s given me one of my toughest fights of the last 10 years.”
The British boxer got a first taste of Ngannou’s power in round two, as a cut opened on the forehead of the Gypsy King when he ate a left hook.
Fury looked ill-prepared and sluggish and hit the canvas in round three when he was found behind the right ear with that same punch.
INFORMATION NIGERIA learnt that the scorecards were against Fury and he appeared desperate when lunging forward in the seventh, missing Ngannou and falling to his knees – deemed a slip rather than a knockdown.
Ngannou boxed very smartly when he was able to close the distance, using his MMA skills to clinch and land shots to the body and head.
Fury’s face carried the damage as the final bell rang and Ngannou’s corner held his arms up high in the expectation that he was on the verge of pulling off the biggest shock in boxing.
But the scorecards controversially fell in the favour of the seasoned boxer, who won the commemorative ‘Riyadh champion’ belt and extended his unbeaten record to 35, winning 34 and drawing one.
“My training camp was only three and a half months and I came into this with an injury,” Ngannou said. “But I don’t want to give excuses. I will look at what I can do next to improve my game to come back even better.
“Now I know I can do this, get ready. The wolf is in the house.”