Former UFC champion Francis Ngannou finally got his wish of competing in boxing’s highest level. “The Predator” will face WBC champion Tyson Fury on October 28th in an actual ten-round professional bout.
From his end, Ngannou is taking his training seriously and even tapped the services of Mike Tyson, who agreed to help out and be a cornerman. But apparently, this newly-done deal left a famed trainer upset.
Teddy Atlas reveals training offer from team Francis Ngannou
In a recent episode of his YouTube show, Atlas revealed a training offer from team Ngannou, along with his conditions for agreeing.
“Full disclosure, I don’t always talk about things that haven’t come to pass. But Ngannou’s people had asked me about the possibility of training him,’ Atlas recalled.
“Obviously, I just don’t train anyone, even if it’s a pile of oil money in the sand. A score, if you will. I’m no saint with this stuff or a monk with this stuff. But I’m not gonna train somebody unless I want to be around them, I think they’re a good person, I think I they’re coachable, and I think I can help them. I’m just not gonna.
“You know my way: I’m gonna spend a couple of days with you. That’s the deal. It’s gonna be a trial period. And I’m not gonna say yes or no until I go through the trial period and see if I want to work with you.”
Atlas described members of Francis Ngannou’s team as ‘nice people,’ but later admitted feeling upset after finding out about the sudden turn of events.
Atlas left dismayed by Francis Ngannou’s offer to Tyson
According to Atlas, he only found out about the change through his son, who sent him a news article about it.
“I don’t look at the internet stuff, but the next day, my son sends me a thing, announcing that they’re getting Mike Tyson to train him,” Atlas said. “Again, god bless. Good. Great. I’m sure it’s gonna bring in some extra pay-per-view buys, at the very least.
“And look, Tyson was a tremendous fighter. And Ngannou is infatuated by him. He’s obsessed with Tyson. He wanted me to show him the Tyson uppercut, which I did.
“I treat him like a gentleman. But you made that deal with Tyson and you’re asking me to go out to Vegas to do a trial… Why don’t you be upfront with me? It just doesn’t feel good.”
Atlas wanted Francis Ngannou to ‘be upfront’
While Atlas says he isn’t taking the issue to heart, all he wanted was for team Francis Ngannou to be straight with him.
“I’m not crying, but I guess what I’m saying is can’t we be better as people?” he said. “I know money is money and it’s important. But isn’t it important to treat people right? Isn’t it important to keep your word?
“Again, they’re nice people. But when you’re tempted by these things, isn’t that when it’s most important for you to show those characteristics? Of just decency, just honesty, just being upfront.”
Atlas didn’t feel good about flying out to Vegas for the “trial period” while Ngannou already had Tyson on board.
“Don’t ask me about coming out for a trial when you know you made a deal with somebody already. It’s gonna feel to me like you’re bringing me out to pick my brain, knowing you’re already going another direction, which is your prerogative. But be upfront.”
Ngannou and Fury’s recent career runs
The 35-year-old Fury (33-0-1) has been active since his 2018 return from almost three years on the sidelines. He last saw action in December when he scored a tenth-round TKO win over Derek Chisora to retain the WBC title.
Meanwhile, Francis Ngannou hasn’t seen action since UFC 270 in early 2022 against Ciryl Gane, his first and only title defense as the heavyweight champion. The 36-year-old Cameroonian holds a pro record of 17-3.
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