“The Predator” had Israel Adesanya and Mike Tyson pushing him to use the questionably legal mixed martial arts (MMA) maneuver against Tyson Fury in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Francis Ngannou is coming off the performance of a lifetime, taking Tyson Fury to the brink of defeat in his first professional boxing bout this weekend (Sat., Oct. 28, 2023) inside Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (watch highlights).
Ngannou stunned the combat sports world with his calm and collected fighting style. He shrugged off his opponent’s attacks and patiently countered “The Gypsy King,” dropping the WBC champion in the third round. Later, in the eighth frame, he had enough gas left to unload a flurry that battered Fury.
And in the tenth round he threw a Superman punch, made famous by mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters such as Georges St-Pierre. In a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Ngannou detailed how he decided to throw that unorthodox (and possibly illegal) move.
Mike Tyson’s ringside reaction to Francis Ngannou’s superman punch in the final round vs Tyson Fury: “I told him to use it.”[ @MikeTyson] pic.twitter.com/kPcadjtUIS
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) October 29, 2023
“I felt like, ‘Okay, I have the energy, I don’t want to go home with that energy, so let’s just use it and see if you can land,’” Ngannou said. “If it doesn’t land, not too bad, I can handle it. But, it was something I wasn’t going to do in the first round. We practiced that Superman punch in the locker room, and again, it’s not illegal. It might not be ‘legal,’ it might not be ‘approved,’ but it’s not illegal because it’s the same as throwing a hook, you step and jump from your two feet.
“We were in the locker room talking about it, and Izzy [Israel Adesanya] was talking about it, like ‘F—, it’s not illegal,’” Ngannou continued. “And when I landed it, someone from his corner complained, I saw his corner complaining to the referee, but the referee saw nothing wrong. So, it was a legal punch.”
The Superman punch was more sizzle than steak, but one tool Ngannou used to great effect was switching stances.
“Southpaw — I switched southpaw,” Ngannou said. “The first time, as soon as I switched, he did the same. But, he wasn’t that confident. For me it was easy. His jab from the Southpaw wasn’t efficient at all, for me it was easy for me to slip and move on his left and get this angle that he was very exposed at. So, I realized that and using that a lot.
“Even at some point in the fight, when I wanted him to give me space I was switching Southpaw, but not to fight, for him to stand [back] because my Southpaw was making him work, think ‘What do I do?’” Ngannou concluded.
Even when he’s getting his clinch, Ngannou gets his underhook and crushes the overhook. When he ducks his head into the clinch, same thing with overhooks or he just frames and punches him. pic.twitter.com/JNC3vYPGUP
— Michel Pereira’s Optician (@ThisIsNotDSP) October 29, 2023
Another area Ngannou excelled at against Fury was in the clinch. Fury is known for using the clinch to great effect, smothering offense and draining his opponent’s cardio.
Ngannou didn’t let any of that happen.
“The clinch wasn’t working good for him,” Ngannou said. “He tried that at some point, I was really pushing and defending it. At some point I even pushed him to the floor for doing that. And he tried to complain, the ref said, ‘You two, stop doing that.’”
In the end — despite all the success he saw in the ring — Ngannou walks away with a 0-1 record in boxing. But, with a performance like that, he expects Fury to want a rematch to clear the air. He plans on continuing to train hard and up his boxing skills so he’ll be ready to beat “The Gypsy King” next time they face each other.
For complete Fury vs. Ngannou results, coverage and highlights click HERE.
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