WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury has confirmed to Sky News that he will be facing former UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou in a boxing match in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on October 28. The bout will be contested under the 10 point must system with three judges ringside.
Per ESPN: “What remains unclear is the number of rounds, whether Fury’s WBC heavyweight title will be on the line, and whether the fight will count toward their professional boxing records.”
Fight has been expected since Francis Ngannou entered the ring in April
Francis Ngannou entered the ring following Fury’s KO win over Dillan Whyte in April, leading many to speculate that the bout was being worked on. Well now it’s official. This will be Ngannou’s professional boxing debut.
Ngannou last fought as a mixed martial artist in January 2020, defending his UFC title in a decision win over Ciryl Gane. He then left the promotion as a free-agent and has signed with the Professional Fighting League.
The PFL is letting Ngannou participate in this boxing match before fighting MMA for the promotion in 2024.
As we reported at the time of the deal’s signing: “The deal would supposedly guarantee Ngannou close to 8-figures a fight, an amount that we were told is more than what the UFC’s final offer had guaranteed him for every title defense. The agreement would also call for him to be paid an upside on successful events—although unlike most other MMA contracts that give a few extra dollars per pay-per-view sold, Ngannou’s calls for him to receive a large share of the sales from pay-per-views, tickets and sponsorships.”
Tyson Fury promises ‘bombs away’
“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 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.
“Francis looked tough when he jumped in the ring after the Whyte fight, but there is no one tougher than me, and you’ll all see that in devastating fashion on October 28.
“I’d like to thank my promoters Frank Warren and Bob Arum, my manager Spencer Brown and the guys at Riyadh Season for making this incredible event possible. It’s going to be a fight for the ages. Get up!”
Dream come true for Ngannou
For his part Francis Ngannou says, “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.
“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.
“I’d like to thank Riyadh Season and my team at 3Point0 Labs for helping put this event together. All I will say to Tyson for now is he better dance in that ring because if I touch him, he’s going to sleep.”
Ngannou huge underdog going into the bout
Not surprisingly, Fury is a heavy betting favorite in the bout.
Sportsbetting.ag has the boxer opening up as a sizable betting favorite over the mixed martial artist. Fury is opening up with a -500 moneyline, and throwing $100 at those odds would net you a meager profit of just $20. As for Francis, his opening betting line is nestled with a large underdog value of +300. Dropping a hundo on Ngannou potentially pays out $400 altogether.
Bloody Elbow’s Eddie Mercado pointed out that these odds are pretty remarkable given Ngannou’s lack of pro boxing experience:
“Francis Ngannou is actually getting better odds against Fury than an actual boxer, Dillian Whyte, did in his 2022 bout with Tyson. Go figure. In my humble opinion, these odds should vastly wider than what they are now, considering the lack of actual boxing experience possessed by Ngannou. In Fury’s last match, his opponent Derek Chisora was a +1200 underdog. That seems more along the lines of what the odds for Fury vs. Francis should be.”
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