Cirque du Saudi: Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou

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In what is grabbing the headlines this week, WBC heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury clashed with the former UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou. A fight that feels a little like the influencer boxing we’re so used to, this one is a legitimate, professional boxing match.

Ngannou will be making his professional boxing debut whereas Fury will make the walk for the 35th time. Both men will be putting their undefeated records on the line, however, it’s Fury with everything to lose. The lineal heavyweight champion is booked to face Oleksandr Usyk in December and should be looking to get in and out in quick fashion against Ngannou. We know this isn’t his style, however. He’s a showman, likes to entertain the fans and make his opponent look silly in the ring by running rings around them.

On paper, Fury runs through Ngannou, dances around him, avoids his power and exits the fight without a scratch. We take a look at whether this could happen and how much of a chanceĀ The Predator has.

Puncher’s Chance

If we’re realistic, Ngannou has a puncher’s chance in the ring against Fury and nothing more. Everyone on the planet knows that he can’t out-box the natural boxer and he shouldn’t try to. What we do know about Ngannou is that he has scary power. Of his 17 MMA victories, 11 have come via knockout, including five of his last six. Granted, these have been in 4oz gloves.

Where the French-Cameroonian will take confidence is that Fury has been dropped multiple times in the ring. He was all but finished against Deontay Wilder in their first fight before he rose from the dead. He hit the canvas in their third fight, twice and has also been down twice in his earlier career.

If Ngannou can catch Fury, it could be a short night forĀ The Gypsy King but just catching him is a tough task.

Three Round Fight

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the main event will be contested across 10 rounds. However, if we’re honest, Ngannou wont have the cardio to last the full distance. He’s heavily muscled, has never been known for his gas tank and, the one time that he went 25 minutes, it was done in the wrestling realm.

He has to go in with an ‘all-out’ mentality. Go all out there and throw everything at Fury in the first three rounds. He has to look to catch Fury before he gets in his rhythm, before he makes his reads and before he sets too many traps.

Fury is the far smarter fighter out of the two men and the shorter the fight goes, the less time he will have to set up attacks, set traps for Ngannou and punish him. He’ll want to take a look at the PFL’s biggest name as he isn’t a natural boxer before he works out how to defeat him. It would benefit Ngannou to start quickly, don’t allow Fury to make the reads and don’t be too concerned about the gas tank.

In the biggest cross-over fight we’ve ever seen, Floyd Mayweather completely out-smarted Conor McGregor. He came with multiple game plans, forced the mistakes out of the Irishman and showed his boxing experience. This is exactly what Fury will look to do with Ngannou. Starting fast will reduce the likelihood of this occurring.

However this one goes, it’s essentially the start of Saudi Arabia’s Sport season which will see plenty of combat sports take place in the country and both men will want to kick it off with a bang.

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Frazer Krohn has been with MMASucka for nearly 5 years. He is the host of the MMASucka podcast, which is released every Monday. He's the author of a series of six books about MMA, which were published in 2023.

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