Francis Ngannou vs. Tyson Fury under exhibition rules is a waste of everyone’s time

Eddie Hearn claims Francis Ngannou vs. Tyson Fury is in the works. However, it doesn't sound like it's the fight many of us have been waiting for.

By: Tim Bissell | 3 months ago

Francis Ngannou landed with PFL, and made a huge splash, a few months ago. With that outfit Ngannou secured ‘the bag’ in the form of a lucrative purse agreement, a number of fighter friendly perks (which we are waiting to see him put to good use) and the freedom to pursue boxing without needing to give his MMA masters a kickback.

The UFC’s strategy of locking their MMA fighters into contracts which prevent them from doing anything else without their permission was a major sticking point for Ngannou. The former UFC heavyweight champion’s relationship with the promotion, and its President Dana White, deteriorated over the last few years because Ngannou was unable to explore potentially lucrative match-ups in the boxing ring.

With the UFC out the picture, though, and PFL not wanting to do anything to annoy their new cash cow (who may cost them more than he ever makes them), it seems as though ‘The Predator’ will be throwing hands in the ring sometime soon.

Francis Ngannou vs. Tyson Fury is actually happening?

Eddie Hearn recently revealed that he thinks Francis Ngannou vs. Tyson Fury in the boxing ring is next on the docket for both fighter. It should be noted that, although Hearn is about as connected as someone can be in pro boxing, he does not promote Fury.

Hearn also said that a forthcoming fight between the former UFC heavyweight champ and the ‘Gypsy King’, who currently holds the WBC heavyweight title, would be under exhibition rules.

Womp womp womp.

If what Hearn suggests is true, we could be on the verge of seeing two of the best and most interesting heavyweight fighters on the planet going into business on a PPV hard sparring session.

We’ve seen knockouts in these kind of set ups, before — just see what Floyd Mayweather Jr. has done each time he’s gone to Japan. However, those wins, while cool, I guess, mean nothing.

Wasted opportunity

The opportunity that has been presented with Ngannou’s liberation from the UFC is about to be lost, if he and Fury (who have been jawing at each other for years) fight under exhibition rules.

I don’t think Ngannou stands any chance of beating Fury. Despite being a very questionable character, who has underworld associations that I’ve covered at length, Fury remains one of the greatest heavyweight boxers to ever step in the ring. And though past his prime, he’s still over-matched against anyone who doesn’t have a lengthy pro record under their belt.

Even if it’s a squash match, it would have been a compelling one if produced with all the trappings of a pro heavyweight bout. If McGregor vs. Mayweather could have the legit treatment, why can’t Ngannou vs. Fury?

The MMA vs. Boxing storyline is tired and frustrating, but when a spectacle like this has an actual chance of happening, you need to make it as big as it can be. Without actual competition acting as a veneer of legitimacy, an Ngannou vs. Fury exhibition bout will fail to be recognized as anything other than a side show attraction.

Also, for Ngannou, this is the worst possible fight he could take right now. Fast forward to a year and imagine what else there is for him to do, other than crush cans in PFL, if his first foray into boxing is a boring ‘fought to no decision’ bout, where he spent eight rounds chasing, missing and being touched up by a grinning Fury who barely breaks a sweat.

Make it pro or leave it alone. And, if you want my advice Francis, take a pro fight against someone we’ve never heard of first. Show us you’re the baddest man out there with a couple of KOs with ten ounce gloves and then give us a tent pole event against a Fury, Joshua or Wilder.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

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