- Who: Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou
- What: Heavyweight boxing match
- Date: Saturday, October 28, 2023
- Time: TBA
- Location: TBA in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- How to Watch: ESPN+ PPV
Boxing fans might not know the time or the exact location of the fight as of yet, but the heavyweight matchup between WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and former UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou is going to happen on Saturday, October 28, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The matchup, which will not see Fury’s title on the line, will be streamed on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
Francis Ngannou (17-3 with 12 knockouts (MMA)) left the UFC as the MMA promotion’s heavyweight champion. One of the reasons Ngannou was unhappy with the promotion was that it would not allow him to box. After walking away from the UFC, Ngannou inked a deal with the PFL that was a much better fit. Among the stipulations the ex-UFC fighter got in that contract was the ability to fight Fury inside the boxing ring. In September, Fury said Ngannou will make $10 million for the fight.
As for Tyson Fury (33-0-1 with 24 KOs), the WBC champ last fought in December 2022 when he scored a 10th-round TKO win over Derek Chisora. Fury, the No. 1 rated heavyweight according to The Ring, has signed a deal to fight Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight title in December or January, which shows he is confident that he will get past the ex-UFC champ on October 28.
Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou betting picks
Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou betting breakdown
Francis Ngannou was one of the hardest-hitting fighters in the UFC. His 2017 knockout of former UFC heavyweight title challenger Alistair Overeem might be the most ferocious KO in the history of the promotion’s heavyweight division. With the amount of power he packs in his punches, Ngannou has a chance to win this fight, something Tyson Fury acknowledged, saying, “All of these guys are big lumps, and when I fight them the risk is always the same, they’ve got a puncher’s chance.”
However, Ngannou’s MMA striking is not at the level of the best heavyweight boxers. He throws with a great deal of power, but his punches are not tight and crisp, they come from wide angles, which leaves him open to be countered. Plus, Ngannou is not the most defensively sound fighter. Ngannou is the betting underdog in this fight for a reason, he’s a mixed martial artist and not a boxer.
For his size, Tyson Fury is one of the most defensively sound boxers in the heavyweight division. He has good footwork and head movement and can frustrate fighters who have spent a lifetime training for the boxing ring. Fury is smart enough to know Ngannou has a puncher’s chance, so expect him to use an active jab to keep Ngannou at distance. If the fight gets in close, Fury will tie up and lean on Ngannou, making him carry his weight.
Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou: Who has the edge
The only edge Ngannou has in this fight is his power. His unpredictability as a boxer might give him some wiggle room early, but I expect Tyson Fury and his corner to figure out Ngannou’s tendencies quickly. Another big question is cardio. Ngannou has never fought a high-level boxer. Sure, he went five rounds in MMA a couple of times, but he will be tasked with going 10 rounds in this matchup against one of the best heavyweight boxers in history.
If Fury fights smart, and I believe he will, his defensive acumen will give Ngannou fits. He has the skill, fight IQ, and speed to fight all the way out or all the way in against Ngannou. He’s dealt with more skilled boxers throughout his career, some of whom packed as much power, with more skill, than Ngannou.
What’s at stake?
With the announcement being made last week that Fury had signed a bout agreement to face Oleksandr Usyk in December or January, there is a lot on the line in this fight. If Ngannou pulls off the seemingly unthinkable upset and beats Fury, the allure comes off the Fury vs. Usyk fight. After all, Usyk holds the following heavyweight titles: IBF, WBA, WBO and The Ring. If Fury loses to Ngannou, he’ll still be the champ, but the number of people clamoring to see Fury vs. Usyk will be reduced.
As for Ngannou, if he wins, it will be considered one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, and perhaps in sports history, and could open the door for him to take another huge purse fight inside the ring.
Best Bets for Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou
For those who think the betting underdog in this scrap will deliver on his puncher’s chance, then by all means, pick Ngannou to win by knockout. There is a huge amount of betting value in that pick. However, it’s an extremely risky betting pick. Instead, my betting pick is for Fury to win by knockout in the second half of the fight when Ngannou gets tired, and his defenses fall. There’s also the chance this fight goes the distance, with Fury picking apart Ngannou over 10 rounds via his jab and counters.
Best bet for Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou: Tyson Fury to win via late knockout
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