Tyson Fury says the boxing world should “laugh” at him if he’s beaten by Francis Ngannou in their fight in Saudi Arabia on October 28.
World heavyweight champion Fury, 35, will face former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou, who has no professional boxing record.
The British Fury’s WBC title will not be on the line against Ngannou.
“I have to be on my A-game,” Fury said. “There’s more at stake now than in a boxing match.”
Fury and Ngannou, 37, came face to face at a press conference in London on Thursday, heavily saturated with references and compliments to Saudi Arabia.
The country has been criticized for using the sport to whitewash its image and reportedly paid millions to bring Fury’s fight against Ngannou to the region.
Their fight will be held under official professional boxing rules, with three judges at ringside adopting the mandatory 10-point system.
Fury is a two-time world champion and defeated Derek Chisora at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in December to extend their unbeaten run to 33 wins and a draw.
“If I lose to an MMA guy, I’ll never be able to show myself in public again,” he added. “It’s going to make a fool of me – people will throw it at me forever.
The Morecambe fighter’s decision to fight boxing novice Ngannou rather than a credible opponent has been lambasted by purists, particularly after super fights against Anthony Joshua and unified champion Oleksandr Usyk could not be accepted.
“There are more things to do than ever before,” Fury said.
“Let the media want to take this as a joke, make no mistake, Tyson Fury will leave no stone unturned and I will be the fittest and strongest I have ever been to defeat this man.
“If I’m not and I’m knocked out, then I want you all to laugh at me. That’s what I want, because I deserve it.”
“I’m going to get this guy’s head”
The Franco-Cameroonian Ngannou had the ambition of becoming a boxer before launching into MMA. He is known for his punching power and knockout ability and will be coached by boxing star Mike Tyson, a man who goes by the name Fury.
“Too bad for him, Mike Tyson loves me more than him,” Ngannou joked.
He became UFC heavyweight champion in 2021 and defended once before his relationship with the MMA promotion and its president Dana White has broken down.
“I have dreamed since I was a child of becoming a boxer today,” he added. “It’s not just that I’m going to box, but I’m going to box the guy on the mountain.”
Earlier this year, Ngannou joined MMA PFL Promotional Outfit which, unlike the UFC, do not contractually restrict fighters from competing freely in other combat sports.
He added: “No one knows for sure what’s going to happen. But what I do know for sure is that I’m going to be out there looking for that guy’s head, taking it out.”
Ngannou’s record in MMA sees him claim 17 wins in 20 fights, with 12 knockouts.
He said: “What will happen when this guy hits the ground and doesn’t get up?
“Will I be the best boxer in the world? If you knock out number one, you’re number one? I think so.”
After exchanging several compliments, the press conference turned slightly more intense when Fury said he would welcome an MMA fight with Ngannou in the future.
“First I’ll beat you in a boxing ring, then I’ll kick your ass on stage,” he said – a comment that seemed to annoy Ngannou.
The lightness of the conference then returned during the mandatory face-to-face. Fury took off his top and encouraged his rival to do the same. Ngannou, perplexed, refused.
Analysis: Winning die-hard fans will be a tall order
Considered the “battle of the baddest”, Fury-Ngannou is a competition between two elite combat sports athletes. But many believe the main fight – and the event as a whole – falls into a category similar to YouTuber or entertainment boxing.
There was a fight between British heavyweight rivals Fabio Wardley and David Adeleye – who will fight on the undercard – at the red carpet event, with Wardley bleeding after a cut to his face.
Inside the venue, the stars of British reality TV shows Love Island and The Only Way is Essex mingled with former footballer Rio Ferdinand.
After the conference started, an hour after it was scheduled to start, Fury said, “I don’t know what to say.”
He then stood up, pacing the stage while delivering a long monologue.
He called Ngannou a dosser, made X-rated references and repeatedly paid tribute to the Saudi government.
Team Fury insists this is a serious fight and the champion will undergo a 12-week training camp in preparation.
But many traditionalists believe he was partly to blame for the fights with Usyk and Joshua not materializing and wanted to see him against an actual competitor, not Ngannou.
Fury will always entertain and this fight will appeal to a wider audience, but winning over those hardcore boxing fans will be a tall order.
Source link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/boxing/66728200