- Fury to face Ngannou October 28 after bouts with Usyk, Ruiz and Joshua fell through
- Fury’s WBC title not at stake
- Possibility of a MMA rematch
Tyson Fury has explained his decision to face Francis Ngannou instead of defending his WBC championship. Fury, 35, is set to take on former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou, who is making his boxing debut, in Saudi Arabia on October 28. Notably, Fury’s WBC title will not be at stake in this matchup.
While Fury had been linked to potential fights against Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk, and Andy Ruiz, various hurdles prevented those matchups from materialising. Instead, Fury has opted to step into the ring against former UFC champion Ngannou.
Fury emphasised that the choice wasn’t entirely his, stating, “This is not about Usyk or any other boxers. It’s about me and him doing combat and there is no more to it. All these boxers, they had their chances over the last nine months to do a deal with me, they didn’t so we’ve moved on and took a real man who is willing to challenge himself,”
He further explained, “Facts are facts: [Anthony] Joshua bottled it, Usyk bottled it and Andy Ruiz asked for $20m, so he bottled it too. And here’s another one – [Deontay] Wilder was asked to fight Ruiz in a final eliminator in February [for Fury’s WBC title]. Both said no so they bottled it too!
“I took a real man on who was willing to step up to the challenge,” he added. “If they’ve got something to say about it, I’m standing here.
“It has taken a guy from MMA to come and challenge me, step up to the plate and give me a challenge when no other actual so-called boxer will step up to it. Full credit to Ngannou.”
Fury expressed a heightened sense of significance surrounding this fight compared to a regular boxing match, stating, “I need to be on my A-game. There’s more on the line now than in a boxing fight.”
Critics blast Fury
Critics have lambasted Fury’s choice to face Ngannou, a relative newcomer to boxing, rather than a more established opponent, after negotiations for high-profile fights against Joshua and unified champion Usyk fell through.
Despite the controversy, Fury remains resolute, emphasising, “There’s more riding on this than ever before… Tyson Fury will leave zero stones unturned, and I will come in as my fittest and strongest I’ve ever been to defeat this man.”
Tyson to train Ngannou
Ngannou, who aspired to be a boxer before transitioning to MMA, brings formidable punching power and knockout ability to the ring. He will be under the tutelage of boxing Hall-of-Fame star Mike Tyson, after whom Fury was named. His MMA record has seen him enjoy 17 wins in 20 fights, with 12 knockouts.
Ngannou said: “What will happen at the moment that guy hits the floor and doesn’t stand up?
“Will I be the best boxer in the world? If you take out the number one, you are the number one? I think so.”
Both fighters displayed mutual respect and compliments at the press conference, though Ngannou was clearly riled when Fury suggested he could also beat him in an MMA bout, and would welcome such a contest in the future.
This contest will adhere to official professional boxing rules, with three judges adopting the 10-point must system ringside.
The fight will command a huge amount of attention. Fury, unsurprisingly, is the overwhelming favourite, as not only a highly experienced professional boxer, but an undefeated world champion. BoyleSports, at the time of writing, are offering 1/12 for a Fury victory, with Ngannou at 7/1 and a draw at 16/1.
Punters will need to study the past performances of both men in their respective disciplines when making their picks.
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