MMA star Francis Ngannou to fight Tyson Fury

The WBC heavyweight champion announced on Tuesday that he will face Cameroonian MMA star Francis Ngannou in a boxing match in Saudi Arabia on October 28.

The fight will not be an exhibition, Fury’s team said, and will be contested “under the official rules of professional boxing, with three judges using the 10-point system”. The Briton’s WBC title will not, however, be at stake.

The whimsical 34-year-old “Gipsy King”, unbeaten in 34 fights, had conquered the WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight belts by defeating Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko at the end of 2015. But problems with depression and drug use, as well as suspicions of doping, sidelined him from the rings until 2018.

After a controversial first draw, in February 2020 he conquered the WBC title at the expense of American Deontay Wilder, whom he dominated again in a rematch.

Ngannou, 36, held the heavyweight belt in the UFC, MMA’s most prestigious league, but left in January to join the rival PFL in May. However, it was already planned that he would not fight there until 2024, preferring to concentrate on his clash with Fury.

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“The meanest man”

The latter’s last fight was in December, when he stopped compatriot Derek Chisora in 10 rounds, but talks of a fight to reunite all the heavyweight titles against Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, IBF, WBA and WBO champion, broke down earlier this year.

“As soon as the bell rings, the bombs are going to rain down. This guy is supposed to be the strongest puncher in the world, but let’s see how he reacts when he gets hit by the ‘Big GK'” (Gipsy King), Fury said when the fight was announced. “I can’t wait to get back in the spotlight. I can’t wait to show the world that the ‘Gipsy King’ is the greatest fighter of his generation in an epic fight against another master of his art.”

Ngannou has no professional boxing record, but the Cameroonian has repeatedly insisted that he dreams of stepping into the ring with Fury. “I’ve been waiting three years to meet Tyson in the ring. My dream has always been to box, and to box the best,” he said. “After becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion in MMA, this is my chance to realize that dream and cement my position as the baddest man on the planet,” Ngannou stressed.

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