Francis Ngannou is not just a fighter. He is a symbol of hope, resilience and courage. He is the undisputed people’s champion, even if the boxing judges did not see it that way.
On Saturday night, Ngannou faced Tyson Fury, the reigning heavyweight champion of the world, in a crossover boxing match in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was a historic event, pitting the UFC heavyweight champion against the WBC and lineal boxing champion, in a clash of styles and personalities.
Ngannou was the underdog, having only started boxing professionally this year, after dominating the MMA scene with his devastating knockout power. Fury was the favorite, having defeated Deontay Wilder twice and being widely regarded as one of the best boxers of his generation.
But Ngannou did not let the odds deter him. He came to fight, and he gave Fury the toughest challenge of his career. He knocked down Fury in the third round with a left hook that sent shockwaves around the world. He outlanded Fury in total punches from rounds three to eight, according to CompuBox. He showed heart, determination and skill, despite being cut and bruised by Fury’s sharp jabs and hooks.
He did not get the decision he deserved. The judges scored the fight 114-113 for Ngannou, 115-112 for Fury and 116-111 for Fury, giving Fury a controversial split decision win. Many fans and experts disagreed with the verdict, calling it rigged or biased. Some even compared it to the infamous robbery of Manny Pacquiao by Timothy Bradley in 2012.
But Ngannou did not complain or make excuses. He congratulated Fury on his victory and thanked his fans for their support. He said he was proud of his performance and that he learned a lot from the experience. He said he would be back stronger and better.
He has nothing to be ashamed of. He has already achieved so much in his life and career, overcoming poverty, hardship and oppression. He was born in Cameroon, where he worked in a sand mine as a child. He dreamed of becoming a boxer, but had no access to training or equipment. He migrated to France, where he faced homelessness and racism. He discovered MMA, where he found his calling and his passion.
He rose through the ranks of the UFC, knocking out opponents left and right with his fearsome fists. He became the first African-born UFC champion in March this year, when he avenged his loss to Stipe Miocic and claimed the heavyweight belt. He became a role model and an inspiration for millions of people around the world, especially in Africa.
He is not just a fighter. He is a humanitarian, a philanthropist and an activist. He founded the Francis Ngannou Foundation, which provides children in Cameroon with access to sports, education and health care. He supports various causes, such as clean water, wildlife conservation and human rights. He speaks out against injustice and inequality.
He is not just a fighter. He is a legend, a hero and a king. He is the undisputed people’s champion, even if the boxing judges did not see it that way.
South Africa has made history by becoming the first team to win four Rugby World Cup titles after defeating New Zealand 12-11 in a thrilling final at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday. The Springboks, who also won the trophy in 1995, 2007 and 2019, overcame a red card for their captain Siya Kolisi in the second half and held off a spirited comeback from the 14-man All Blacks, who had their skipper Sam Cane sent off in the first half for a high tackle.
The match was a tense and physical battle, with both teams relying on their strong defenses and accurate kicking. South Africa’s flyhalf Handré Pollard scored all of his team’s points with four penalties, while New Zealand’s fullback Beauden Barrett scored the only try of the game and added two penalties. The All Blacks, who were aiming for their fourth title and their third in a row, had a chance to snatch victory in the dying minutes, but Jordie Barrett missed a long-range penalty attempt.
The final was a fitting climax to a tournament that showcased the best of rugby union, with exciting matches, passionate fans and a diverse range of teams. South Africa’s triumph was also a symbol of hope and unity for a nation that has faced many challenges in recent years. The Springboks, who are led by Kolisi, the first black captain in their history, have inspired millions of South Africans with their performances and their message of social justice. Read more about South Africa’s Springboks here.