Mike CoppingerESPN2 minutes to read
Heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury and former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou will have their bout on Oct. 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, sources tell ESPN.
WBC President Mauricio Suleiman did not respond to a text asking if Fury’s WBC heavyweight title would be at stake. The rules of the competition and the number of its rounds were not clear at this time.
Fury and Ngannou teased a future meeting in April 2022, as they shared the ring after Fury won by 6th round TKO over Dillian Whyte in London to retain the WBC heavyweight title.
“Big Francis Nganu is here today,” Fury said at the time. “He’s on my list of goals for an exhibition fight, however he wants it: in a cage, in a boxing ring, boxing gloves, UFC gloves, we can make it happen. I think everyone wants to see him. He’s a man’s beast, I’m a man’s beast, so It will definitely be a clash of titans.”
The 34-year-old Englishman returned for a three-way fight with Derek Chisora in December, winning by 10th round stoppage to retain the No. 1 spot in ESPN’s heavyweight rankings.
Fury (33-0-1, 24 kos) was in talks to meet Oleksandr Usyk for the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship in April at London’s Wembley Stadium, but negotiations broke down in March.
Now, ESPN’s No. 7 lb-for-pound boxer will meet one of the most recognizable names in combat sports at a star-studded event in the Middle East.
Ngannou (20-3-3 MMA record) last competed in January 2022, when he retained the UFC Heavyweight Championship with a unanimous decision victory over Cyryl Gane at UFC 270. That turned out to be Ngannou’s final match at the Octagon.
After being unable to reach the terms of a contract extension with the UFC, Ngannou parted ways with the MMA organization in January. Now, he is intent on making his boxing debut, fulfilling the dream of his life that he set out to achieve when he fled Cameroon to France at the age of 26.
Nganuo, 36, underwent surgery in March to repair his MCL and ACL. Two months later, he signed a deal with the PFL that allowed him to box as well.
“My next step is boxing,” Ngannou told ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto in March. “I want to do one boxing match first and then maybe go back to MMA because I still enjoy MMA. I want to do two boxing matches. We’re working on a few things, hopefully in a month or two. Be able to come up with an announcement of dates and locations.” fighting potential.
“It takes a little longer than I expected, but it comes. Big things come with time.”
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