Billy Joe Saunders: ‘If Tyson Fury was a fraction of himself, Francis Ngannou wouldn’t lay a glove on him’

Former two-division champion Billy Joe Saunders thinks Tyson Fury had an off night vs. Francis Ngannou.

WBC boxing champion Fury scraped by a split decision against Ngannou in their crossover boxing match in Saudi Arabia. Fury was even knocked down in Round 3 in a fight many thought he lost.

Although Fury said he didn’t underestimate Ngannou, Saunders insists Fury wasn’t himself. He’s confident a rematch would go completely differently.

“It wasn’t a robbery,” Saunders told TalkSport. “It was very close. It could’ve went either way, and obviously Tyson got the nod. He’s the champion, but it wasn’t really Tyson whatsoever. From the word go, I knew he was going to have a tough night because I know Tyson inside out. Normally you see him standing up tall, getting behind that jab, using his feints. If someone said to me, ‘You’re fighting someone from the UFC in the boxing ring,’ I probably would take my eye off the ball a little bit, myself, maybe not go through the fine details.

“The reality is, with a novice you need to make him look at the right hand and then hit him with the left hand. That’s what he needed to do. … If Tyson was a fraction of himself, Ngannou wouldn’t lay a glove on him. But I’ve seen Tyson in sparring – I’ve seen the way he acts in sparring when he’s sparring certain people. To me, it was like he wasn’t switched on from word go. Fair play to Ngannou: He was a lot better than people actually thought.”

Ngannou wants to run things back with Fury, but that won’t happen until Fury faces Oleksandr Usyk next, which was already in the works before the Fury-Ngannou fight even happened. Their undisputed heavyweight title fight will reportedly happen in February.

For more on the matchup, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Fury vs. Ngannou.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie