The former UFC heavyweight champion of the world made his boxing debut against the Gypsy King on the biggest stage in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. But rather than being overwhelmed by the occasion, Ngannou put on a performance that won him many new fans.
The MMA fighter dropped Fury in the third round with a sweeping left hook, which caught the latter and the crowd unaware. Thereafter, Ngannou continued to trade with the Gypsy King, taking shots in the process as he lasted the distance.
While the performance took many by surprise, Atlas did point out a big factor that may have been missed when judging Ngannou’s prospects of winning. The former trainer pinpointed Ngannou’s experience at the highest level, having ultimately become a world champion in the UFC, which prepared him for the pressure that was coming.
“All they paid attention to was the shortcomings, the negatives, what he didn’t have. They didn’t think about what he did have. He didn’t have the experience, he hadn’t been a boxer, he didn’t make his living in the ring… The reason I said he had a shot was, yeah, even though he hadn’t been a pro boxer, he’d been a professional fighter,” Atlas said
Despite this being the case, it is important to note that Fury may have overlooked his opponent. The Gypsy King, though, refused to make any excuses, even if his physique in the first presser was questioned. The WBC champion looked bigger than usual. Meanwhile, Fury had all the pressure coming into the fight, with the expectation to win in style. However, Atlas still talked up Ngannou’s big fight experience.
“He’d been in that cauldron, that furnace where ordinary people haven’t been in, and if they do, they get burned up. But when you’ve been a fighter and you’ve been in that cauldron, you’re used to that atmosphere, you’ve breathed that air before, you know what to expect…. That pressure’s not gonna shrink you… It’s not gonna take away your belief that you’re gonna win,” Atlas