LeBron James pulled no punches as he slammed the Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou fight on X: “Exactly why I don’t watch boxing. C’mon man!”. He added a face palm emoji for good measure.
The NBA star wasn’t the only one in disbelief at the split points decision going the way of the Gypsy King, with fellow baller and leading scorer, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers saying Francis, making his debut in boxing after a stellar UFC career, had been “robbed”.
Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers was also less than happy: “WTF? Fury just lost that fight… WOW.”
Tyson Fury surprised by Francis
British boxer Fury was knocked to the canvas by the former UFC heavyweight champion in the third round and Francis appeared to be in control of the bout for much of it. Despite this, the judges awarded a split decision victory to the WBC champion Fury, with scores of 94-95, 96-93, and 95-94.
Fellow boxers and MMA fighters also weighed in on the controversial win that saw Fury maintain his unbeaten record. Oleksandr Usyk, who is to face Fury for the heavyweight unification, watched the spectacle in disbelief. “All I have to say is that Francis Ngannou is my Heavy Champ of the World,” shared Ryan García.
Canelo Álvarez expressed his shock through a red-faced emoji. Jake Paul, who had lost to Fury’s half-brother Tommy in February, posted, “Split decision… feels familiar.”
Chris Eubank Jr. was especially critical, stating, “Watching from ringside I thought Ngannou won the fight. It was close but he was the aggressor, landed heavier shots & scored a knockdown. Fury deserved to lose after having so much trouble against a man who has never boxed before… too much time filming Netflix specials not enough time in the gym I’m guessing. Unlucky Francis”
Israel Adesanya, former middleweight champion, who had travelled to Riyadh to watch the match, tweeted, “Against all odds and coming out on top. My brother Francis Ngannou… you shook the world.” Nate Díaz, who also recently debuted in boxing, declared, “Tyson Fury lost, and boxing commentary [is] biased af; dumbasses they need to learn how to box.” Mike Tyson, his idol and trainer, declared him the true champion, saying, “Very proud of how you’ve performed.”