Tyson Fury can’t help but feel a bit dismayed by a particularly glaring irony heading into his high-profile showdown with Francis Ngannou. (photo by @threethirtythree)
The WBC heavyweight titlist from Manchester, England, is set to go 10 rounds on Oct. 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with Ngannou, the former UFC heavyweight champion, in what will be mark Ngannou’s boxing debut.
Guiding Ngannou is boxing great Mike Tyson, whose name was the inspiration for Fury’s own.
In a recent interview, Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) noted the unfortunate paradox of their circumstance.
“I think that it’s sad, actually,” Fury told Sky Sports. “The man that I am named after, a legend, has to go against me and then come out as a loser, having lost to a man who was named after him. I think that it’s sad and I think that he should be in my corner, not the opposing corner, but business is business and I understand that it’s strictly business.”
At the same time, Fury is not expecting his namesake to produce any meaningful improvements in Ngannou.
“No matter what he teaches this fella, no matter how much boxing training he does, everyone has got a plan until they get punched in the face,” Fury sad. “And I’m not sure who said that, but that is true. They’ve all got a plan until they get smacked in the mouth.”
The 37-year-old Ngannou, of Cameroon, parted ways with the UFC earlier this year. The move allowed the heavyweight to link up with the Professional Fighters League. Ngannou’s contract with the PFL allows him to participate in a boxing match.
Fury, 35, has not fought since December, when he stopped countryman Derek Chisora in 10 rounds. Fury was then involved in protracted talks to fight unified champion Oleksandr Usyk but their negotiations broke down repeatedly over their purse.
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.