Sports

July 11, 2023

Heavyweight champion Fury to face MMA fighter Ngannou

Heavyweight champion Fury to face MMA fighter Ngannou

WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will fight Mixed Martial Arts star Francis Ngannou in a boxing contest to decide “the baddest man on the planet” in Saudi Arabia on October 28.

Fury’s team said the fight in Riyadh will “take place under the official rules of professional boxing, with three judges ringside adopting the 10-point must system”.

The British boxer’s WBC title will not be on the line in the “exhibition” bout against former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou.

Fury’s last fight was in December when he stopped compatriot Derek Chisora inside 10 rounds, but talks over an undisputed world title showdown against Oleksandr Usyk broke down earlier this year.

“As soon as that bell goes, it’ll be bombs away. This guy is supposed to be the hardest puncher in the world, but let’s see how he reacts when he gets hit by the Big GK,” Fury, nicknamed the Gypsy King, said.

“I can’t wait to get back out there under the lights. I’m looking forward to showing the world that the Gypsy King is the greatest fighter of his generation in an epic battle with another master of his craft.”

There will be three ringside judges and they will follow the scoring criteria used in all official boxing bouts, although it is unclear how many rounds are scheduled.

Ngannou has no professional record in boxing but the 36-year-old Cameroonian-French fighter insisted it was a dream to step into the ring with Fury.

“I’ve been waiting to meet Tyson in the ring for the past three years. My dream was always to box, and to box the best,” he said.

“After becoming the undisputed MMA Heavyweight Champion, this is my opportunity to make that dream come true and cement my position as the baddest man on the planet.”

While Usyk defends his WBA, IBF and WBO crowns against Fury’s promotional stablemate Daniel Dubois next month, his fellow world champion is embarking on a fascinating cross-code clash.

The WBC said it would not be involved in the fight, with Fury given “special permission” for a non-title bout as he has no mandatory challenger.

Ngannou built a reputation as a formidable puncher on his way to becoming UFC heavyweight champion, a title he held until leaving in January after an acrimonious relationship with the organisation’s president Dana White.

He has won 17 of his 20 professional UFC fights, with 12 knockouts.

MMA stars including Conor McGregor, Anderson Silva and Tyron Woodley have struggled to make the transition to the boxing ring in the past.