Zhilei Zhang has accused WBC heavyweight champion and rival Tyson Fury of 'avoiding' him after a shaky fight against Francis Ngannou almost produced a huge upset.

The 'Gypsy King' is preparing for a fight against WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO champion Oleksandr Usyk which is expected to be announced in February, but he will go into that bout off the back of arguably the worst performance of his career last month. His fight with mixed martial artist Ngannou saw him knocked down in round three, clearly caught by surprise by the Cameroonian's power and 'awkwardness' on his boxing debut as he'd put it after the fight.

Despite the setback, he won in controversial fashion via split decision with many watching at home and on social media claiming Ngannou has been 'robbed' of the victory and that the result was 'rigged' to protect Fury's record.

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After the fight, Fury admitted that he wasn't sure how close the bout had been but all that mattered to him was staying undefeated. He said: "That definitely wasn’t in the script. [Ngannou] is a lot better of a boxer than we thought he’d be.

"He’s a very awkward man, and he’s a good puncher, and I respect him a lot. He was very awkward, he wasn’t coming forward; he was waiting for me to throw my punches then looking to counter. [The knockdown] is a part of boxing. I got caught behind the head. I got up and it was alright; I got back to my boxing.

"I don’t know how close [the fight] was, but I got the win and that’s what it is. I’ve been out of the ring a long time again. You can see it in here – ring rust, everything. No excuses, though. He’s cut me across the eye there. It was a good, rough fight. Perfect."

Despite Fury's carefree attitude about the whole ordeal, some in the boxing world haven't taken so kindly to it. One of those is Zhang, who believes that it's no coincidence that after trying to fight Usyk for two years, the fight was set up after the Chinese star called him out.

He told the Daily Star (via Gambling.com): "We witnessed the worst version of Tyson Fury ever. No matter how you look at it, it’s an exhibition fight. To perform like that, it’s a shame to the sport of boxing.

"I don’t know if Fury is past his prime or not, but he did not train for the Ngannou fight and was not dedicated as a professional for it.

"When I called him out after knocking Joe Joyce out, he was in a conversation with Oleksandr Usyk to fight for two years. As soon as I called him out the fight got made. That to me means Fury and his team want to avoid me."