Tyson Fury considering octagon clash after facing Francis Ngannou in Riyadh bout

By Sports Desk September 07, 2023

Tyson Fury hit back at his critics at the launch press conference of his boxing contest with mixed martial arts fighter Francis Ngannou before he hinted at a second bout between the pair in the octagon.

Fury has faced plenty of scrutiny since it was announced in July that he would next step in the ring with former UFC world heavyweight champion Ngannou on October 28 in Saudi Arabia.

While it will be a boxing contest that lasts 10 rounds in Riyadh, Fury’s WBC heavyweight title will not be on the line and this bout occurs amid the backdrop of a potential unification clash with WBA, IBF and WBO-belt holder Oleksandr Usyk falling through.

The Gypsy King was at his charismatic best in London for the fight dubbed ‘Battle of the Baddest’ but aimed at a dig at the media and his detractors who question why he has not been able to arrange a clash for the ages with Usyk.

“I have to take my hat off to Francis for his story, where he has come from, the fight, the grind and the determination to get to where he is. He was a young boy in Africa with a big dream and everybody at home probably laughed at him,” Fury explained.

“But I won’t laugh at anyone because I know man’s struggle. I come from a place where everything is possible. I may not be here today if things had gone differently so I never underestimate anybody. The media say he has no chance.

“I say if I go to the boozer and get in a brawl with a drunken guy, if he hits me, he may knock me out so how am I not going to prepare 100 per cent for an absolute killing machine who is trying to take my brains out? I will give Francis the respect he 100 per cent deserves.

“I need to bring my A-game because there is more on the line than a boxing fight. If I lose to an MMA guy, I will never be able to show my face in public again and I will be ridiculed. People will chuck it at me forever.

“So, if the media want to take it as a joke or whatever, make no mistake I will come into this leaving zero stones unturned. I will come in at my fittest, strongest and at the best I have ever been. If I am not, if I get knocked out, I want people to laugh at me.”

Both of Fury’s promoters, Frank Warren of Queensberry and Top Rank’s Bob Arum, predicted entertainment will be guaranteed next month, but boxing fans will wonder what is next for Britain’s world heavyweight champion.

Talk continues to rumble on over if Fury could fight compatriot Anthony Joshua in 2024 or if a unification clash may happen with Usyk after the Lancashire boxer beat Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora last year in one-sided fights.

Yet, the 35-year-old dropped a big hint there could be a second tale between himself and Ngannou, who is preparing for his boxing debut.

Fury insisted: “I think I could beat you in the cage. I would kick your a*** in the cage, no problem. One hundred per cent. Personally, I will beat you in the boxing ring and then kick your a*** in the cage.”

This fight will kick off Riyadh season in Saudi Arabia and Fury provided a chilling prophecy of what the future could hold in store for the Middle East country, which is repeatedly criticised by anti-human rights groups and accused of sportswashing.

He added: “It is a very special event for me and a special time in sports where a powerhouse like Saudi Arabia are coming in taking over the game. They are taking over football, taking over boxing, I think within five to 10 years they will be the powerhouse of all sports. All the big sporting events will be in Saudi Arabia somewhere.”

Ngannou will realise a dream by fighting as a professional boxer for the first time and has help from Mike Tyson, who will be in his corner.

Boasting a record of 12 knock-outs in his 17 UFC contests, the 37-year-old from Cameroon promised if his punch lands, it will knock out Fury.

“I ask myself what will happen at the moment that guy hits the floor and doesn’t get up? Does that make me best boxer in the world? If you take out number one, it makes you number one,” Ngannou pondered.

“If it does land, goodnight. Lights off. What do you think will happen? This is a heavyweight fight and that is what is very exciting about heavyweight fights.

“We know everybody in the heavyweight division can knock each other out. I am going in there to fight. To hit and not get hit. That is the rules of boxing and I am very aware of that.”

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  • Fury to face Usyk in December rematch, says Saudi Arabian official Fury to face Usyk in December rematch, says Saudi Arabian official

    Tyson Fury's rematch with Oleksandr Usyk will take place in Riyadh on December 21, according to the chair of Saudi Arabia's general entertainment authority Turki Alalshikh.

    Earlier this month, Usyk beat Fury by virtue of a split decision to become the first undisputed world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis held the WBC, WBA and IBF belts from November 1999 to April 2000.

    It was the first defeat of Fury's professional career, with two judges scoring the fight 115-112 and 114-113 in favour of Usyk, and the third scoring it 114-113 to Fury.

    Fury subsequently described it as "one of the daftest decisions in boxing" and said a second bout would take place in October, with both fighters confirmed as holding a rematch clause in advance of the first fight.

    That date has now been pushed back, but Fury will get a chance to avenge his loss in December.

    In a post on X on Wednesday, Alalshikh wrote: "The rematch... is now scheduled on the 21 of December 2024 during Riyadh Season.

    "The world will watch another historical fight again. Our commitment to boxing fans continues. We hope you enjoy it."

    On Tuesday, Fury's promoter Frank Warren told Sky Sports he was confident the Gypsy King would bounce back. 

    "I spoke to him [Fury] after the fight and obviously when he got back just to make sure he's okay. He was very disappointed but very philosophical," Warren said.

    "It was a fabulous fight, two absolute gladiators who didn't leave anything in the ring in an epic fight, the most important fight of the 21st century. It was a very, very close fight and I think it will be an even bigger one next time."

  • 'I believe I won' - Fury loses historic undisputed championship to Usyk 'I believe I won' - Fury loses historic undisputed championship to Usyk

    Tyson Fury voiced his frustration after suffering the first defeat of his career to Oleksandr Usyk in their undisputed world heavyweight title fight in Saudi Arabia.

    Usyk won by split decision to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis, and the first to unite all four belts.

    The scorecards read 115-112 and 114-113 in favour of Usyk, while a third judge scored 114-113 to Fury.

    After an even start, the momentum shifted in a brilliant ninth round for the Ukrainian as he caught Fury with a left hook, forcing the referee to give him a standing count before the bell saved him from a further onslaught.

    A defiant Fury was not happy with the result, suggesting that Usyk received a sympathy vote from the judges.

    "I believe I won that fight," he said in the ring. "I believe he won a few of the rounds, but I won the majority.

    "His country is at war, so people are siding with the country at war. Make no mistake, I won that fight, in my opinion.

    "It was one of the daftest decisions in boxing. We run it back in October. I'm not going to sit here and cry and make excuses."

    Usyk remained undefeated as he took Fury’s WBC belt to add to his WBA, WBO and IBF collection.

    "Thank you so much for my team. It's a big opportunity for my family, for my country," an emotional Usyk said afterwards. "I'm very happy.

    "My people will be very happy. I think it's a big win, not only for me, it's a big win for my country, for soldiers who now defend my country.

    "I think my father now is watching over me and is very happy. Dad, I love you. I can, you told me I can."

  • John Fury appears to headbutt member of Team Usyk ahead of undisputed bout John Fury appears to headbutt member of Team Usyk ahead of undisputed bout

    Tyson Fury's father John Fury was left with a nasty cut on his face after appearing to headbutt a member of Oleksandr Usyk's entourage at a pre-fight media day on Monday.

    WBC belt-holder Fury will face Usyk for the undisputed world heavyweight title in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, with both men defending undefeated professional records.

    With both fighters and their camps present at a hotel in the city for media duties on Monday, the build-up to their bout – the most eagerly anticipated in the heavyweight division in recent years – got off to a chaotic start.

    Fury's father was pictured with blood running down his forehead after becoming involved in an altercation with a man wearing a Team Usyk tracksuit.

    Widely shared footage on social media appeared to show him headbutting the man, who then had to be restrained by other members of Usyk's entourage.

    It was later reported that the Saudi Arabian authorities were aware of the incident but did not plan to take any action.    

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