Boxing heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will face Francis Ngannou, one of the top heavyweight fighters in mixed martial arts (MMA), in a bout that will be contested under professional boxing rules in Saudi Arabia on October 28.
The announcement of the crossover clash on Tuesday came after months of speculation that intensified following Ngannou’s departure from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world’s leading MMA promotion.
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Fury’s team said there will be “three judges ringside adopting the 10-point must system” in the fight held in Riyadh. However, the number of rounds that the two fighters will box was not immediately clear.
The World Boxing Council champion’s last fight was in December when he stopped British boxer Derek Chisora inside 10 rounds, but talks over an undisputed world title showdown against Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk fell through in March.
Fury, born in Britain to an Irish Traveller family, is known as the “Gypsy King” (GK).
“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 said, referring to Ngannou. “I can’t wait to get back out there under the lights.”
I’ve been ready the past 3 years 🙄 https://t.co/AzACbbRPBI
— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) July 11, 2023
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.
The Cameroonian has won 17 of his 20 professional UFC fights, with 12 knockouts, but MMA stars including Conor McGregor, Anderson Silva and Tyron Woodley have previously struggled while making the transition to the boxing ring.
Ngannou talked about a crossover bout with Fury after the latter beat Dillian Whyte in April last year.
“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.”
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.