Boxing and UFC collide in the Battle of the Baddest as Francis Ngannou steps into the ring with heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
It’s a battle between two heavyweight fighters, but it’s not the unification bout most boxing fans will have been hoping for. Instead, Tyson Fury will meet UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia.
Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) hasn’t been in the ring since December 2022 but does come into this one on the back of two stoppage wins over Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora. The hope was that Fury would fight Oleksandr Usyk – there is still hope for that bout – but will take the payday that comes with the gimmick of fighting a UFC champion. As expected, he’s a considerable $1.09 favourite to walk out of the ring victorious.
Ngannou won the UFC heavyweight championship in March 2021 and defended it against Ciryl Gane in January 2022 before signing with the PFL which allows him to fight in the cage and ring.
He doesn’t have anything on his boxing CV right now but Ngannou’s fighting style aligns somewhat nicely with Fury. The 37-year-old is a knockout specialist and has been trained by Mike Tyson. He is one of the most feared fighters in UFC and his introduction to boxing has come from one of the greatest and most dangerous to ever step into the ring. For what is somewhat of an exhibition, there will be no lack of urgency and aggression on Ngannou’s side.
Record: 33-0-1, 24 KOs
For all of Ngannou’s power and strength, he will look small in comparison to Fury who stands five inches taller with an added reach advantage. He has fought only one opponent taller than him throughout his UFC career. While it ended quickly with Ngannou finishing Anthony Hamilton inside two minutes, Fury is a different beast.
It's never easy to replicate Tyson Fury 😅
— Boxing on TNT Sports (@boxingontnt) October 25, 2023
The lack of experience in the ring makes things hard enough. Add the fact he’s fighting one of the best in boxing and is undersized in comparison, and it’s difficult to see Ngannou keeping up with Fury here. He can entertain but his $7 to win is indicative of the situation he faces in Saudi Arabia.
Fury v Ngannou Boxing Tips
Fury’s ability to evade punches and throw them back at speed doesn’t make sense for somebody of his size. To many, he’s the best boxer in the world and this is a boxing fight. Ngannou has the knockout power to drop Fury if the opportunity presents itself. However, we’ve seen Fury successfully navigate the hardest punchers in boxing before. He dominated Deontay Wilder twice to win via 7th-round TKO and 11th-round KO. The expectation is for him to do similar against Ngannou by breaking him down as the far superior boxer.
Ngannou is a puncher’s chance. He has to be given the power he has in his hands. But Fury should be able to keep out of his range by ducking and weaving as he did against Wilder, and as he has done throughout his prolific boxing career. While Fury’s reach advantage is only slight, he will tower over Ngannou and leave the Cameroonian with a lot further to punch if he’s to connect with the big shot he needs to cause an upset. Power is the only real tool in Ngannou’s bag and Fury’s size and defensive ability go a long way to negating it.
Fury is an entertainer. If he’s comfortable and starts to enjoy himself, he will want to put on a show and have the fight run for as long as possible. To win by KO or TKO is the clear favourite at $1.18. There is every chance fatigue gets the better of Ngannou for him to really struggle in the later rounds. The Total Rounds market is set at 4.5 for good reason (Under – $1.76). It’s a fight that will likely end up as one-sided as the markets suggest, but there is value in Fury’s showmanship and for the fight to go the distance.