Mike Tyson brags about Francis Ngannou’s ‘great left hook’

Was Mike Tyson the secret sauce in Francis Ngannou's boxing debut?

By: Nate Wilcox | 4 weeks ago
Mike Tyson brags about Francis Ngannou’s ‘great left hook’
Mike Tyson and Francis Ngannou share the boxing ring. | Amy Kaplan / Icon Sportswire, IMAGO

Boxing legend Mike Tyson was brought in to help Francis Ngannou before his bout with Tyson Fury. There was a fair bit of skepticism about Tyson’s role in the Ngannou camp before the fight, with a video of Ngannou doing an open workout under Iron Mike’s tutelage coming in for particular mockery.

There was even a little bit of controversy about renowned boxing coach Teddy Atlas having been pushed aside to make room for Tyson in Ngannou’s camp with Atlas commenting, “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.” 

There was also some speculation about the role of Saudi money in paying Tyson to train Ngannou as part of the Kingdom’s “sports washing” effort to hype the fight.

But after Francis Ngannou shocked the world by knocking down Tyson Fury in the third round and lost by a narrow split decision, the critics have been silenced.

Mike Tyson heaps praise on Francis Ngannou

Maybe Mike Tyson really was the secret sauce. He is a legend for a reason after all.

In a recent episode of his ‘Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson’ podcast, the former heavyweight boxing champion was effusive in his praise of Ngannou and his ability to follow instruction.

“I was really proud of Francis Ngannou because he listened to everything I said,” Tyson explained (transcript via MMA Junkie) “And I was telling everybody about the great left hook that he landed on his sparring partner and actually broke his leg, and I knew if he landed that left hook on anybody they were gone – and I was right. The champ went down. I’m happy. I’m very grateful to be involved with his glory, his victory. I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of Mr. Francis.”

Suddenly everyone is amazed at Ngannou’s performance and potential as the hottest 37-year-old rookie in boxing history, but there are still some voices urging caution and reminding us punters that reality has a nasty way of biting back after the fairy tale is over.

Daniel Cormier doesn’t see the MMA side of Ngannou’s options

Since his career-making pro-boxing debut Ngannou talked a fair bit about possibilities for his next fight, including a return to the PFL in 2024.

If that’s the ‘Predator”s plan, however, former UFC champion Daniel Cormier doesn’t seem to see a realistic option for the champ.

“Honestly, Ryan [Bader] would not fight Francis, right,” Cormier said in a recent interview with MMA Fighting. “Because we’ve seen Ryan in there with big punchers and when he fights the big punchers, he gets nervous, he takes bad shots and he puts himself in bad positions.

“I wouldn’t want to see that but that would honestly be the biggest fight they could make for him. Biggest fight would be like Ryan Bader or if they try to make him fight Fedor [Emelianenko], which I would not want to see because Fedor should not be fighting.”

“There just isn’t the name value to stand alongside him right now outside of boxing,” Cormier said. “[But] when you make the money he made, he can sit around for a while.”

Join the new Bloody Elbow

Our Substack is where we feature the work of writers like Zach Arnold, John Nash and Connor Reubusch. We’re fighting for the sport, the fighters and the fans. Please help us by subscribing today.

Share this story

About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

More from the author

Bloody Elbow Podcast
Related Stories