Former UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou “deserved to be ranked by the WBC” after he was denied an incredible upset win against Tyson Fury, according to president Mauricio Sulaiman.
Former UFC champion Ngannou shocked the world by going the distance in his boxing debut, even knocking down reigning WBC heavyweight champion Fury at one point.
What appeared a total mismatch between the unbeaten WBC champion and a mixed martial artist, who was boxing professionally for the first time, Ngannou landed the most telling blow as a left hook decked Fury in the third round.
But Fury got up off the canvas before grinding his way to a highly unconvincing split decision win with two judges giving Fury the fight by scores of 96-93 and 95-94, and the other judge favouring Ngannou 95-94.
Current top 10 World Boxing Council (WBC) rankings
1. Deontay Wilder
2. Anthony Joshua
3. Arslanbek Makhmudov
4. Frank Sanchez
5. Andy Ruiz
6. Jared Anderson
7. Efe Ajagba
8. Dillian Whyte
9. Martin Bakole
10. Joseph Parker
This was not the tune-up Fury would have envisaged for an undisputed world title showdown against Oleksandr Usyk, the WBA, IBF and WBO champion who was ringside to witness his rival’s underwhelming display.
Ngannou who had not fought in any capacity since January 2022 and had reconstructive knee surgery in that time, said pointedly on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Table Tennis champion of the world.”
Ngannou exceeded expectations with reports suggesting he could be in line for a top 10 ranking with the WBC.
Sky Sports approached Sulaiman, who confirmed: “What I personally witnessed last night is a solid boxer, who deserves to be ranked by the WBC and I will make such recommendations to the ratings committee.”
It would mean Ngannou will be ranked above the likes of Filip Hrgovic and Daniel Dubois, although the 37-year-old is expected to return to MMA next year.
Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk has insisted Fury “cannot escape” an undisputed world title fight on December 23, despite the latter’s punishing points win over Francis Ngannou.
He said: “Everyone, including Usyk, did not give much chance to Ngannou. But the man has shocked the world.
“Fury underestimated his opponent. Arrogance, lack of discipline, and thirst for money lead to these kind of circumstances.
“But we have December 23 inked and Fury cannot escape that.”