- Fury set to fight Ngannou on October 28, following failed negotiations with Usyk, Ruiz, and Joshua
- WBC title not on the line for Fury
- Potential for a rematch in MMA format
Tyson Fury has clarified why he’s choosing to fight Francis Ngannou rather than defend his WBC title. At 35, Fury is scheduled to go head-to-head with former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou, who will be making his boxing debut, in Saudi Arabia on October 28. Importantly, Fury’s WBC championship won’t be on the line in this bout.
Although Fury was in discussions for potential fights with Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk, and Andy Ruiz, various obstacles kept those fights from happening. Instead, Fury is stepping into the ring against former UFC champ Ngannou.
Fury stressed that the decision wasn’t solely up to him, saying, “This isn’t about Usyk or any other fighters. It’s just about me and him going at it, plain and simple. All these fighters had a nine-month window to make a deal with me. They didn’t, so we’ve moved on and picked a real man who’s up for the challenge.”
He went on to elaborate, “The facts are the facts: Joshua backed out, Usyk backed out, and Andy Ruiz demanded $20 million, so he backed out too. And here’s another one—Deontay Wilder was offered to fight Ruiz in a final eliminator in February [for my WBC title]. Both declined, so they backed out as well!”
“I’ve picked someone who’s genuinely willing to step up to the plate,” he added. “If anyone has an issue with that, I’m right here.”
“It took an MMA guy to step up and give me a real challenge when none of these so-called boxers would,” Fury continued. “Props to Ngannou.”
Fury feels this fight carries more weight than a standard boxing match, stating, “I need to be at the top of my game. There’s more at stake now than in a regular boxing fight.”
Critics Question Fury’s Decision
Many have criticized Fury’s decision to battle Ngannou, a boxing novice, instead of facing off against a more seasoned boxer, especially after high-profile negotiations with Joshua and Usyk collapsed.
Unfazed by the criticism, Fury emphasized, “The stakes have never been higher. I’ll be in the best shape of my life to secure a victory.”
Mike Tyson to Mentor Ngannou
Francis Ngannou, originally an aspiring boxer before venturing into MMA, will bring his formidable knockout power to the boxing ring. He will train under the legendary boxer Mike Tyson, the man who inspired Fury’s own name. Ngannou boasts a strong MMA record, with 17 wins in 20 bouts, including 12 knockouts.
Ngannou weighed in, saying, “If I knock him down and he doesn’t get back up, does that make me the world’s best boxer? If you beat the best, you are the best, right?”
Both athletes showed mutual respect during the press conference, though Ngannou appeared irked when Fury suggested he could also best him in an MMA fight and expressed openness to such a matchup in the future.
This fight will abide by the rules of professional boxing, with three judges at ringside using the 10-point must system.
The match is garnering massive interest, with Fury being the clear favorite. At present, BoyleSports is offering 1/12 odds for a Fury win, while Ngannou stands at 7/1 and a draw is at 16/1. Bettors would do well to consider the fighters’ past performances in their respective sports when making their wagers.