Frank Warren, co-promoter for WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, expect there to be a rematch with MMA veteran Francis Ngannou in the future.
Last month in Saudi Arabia, Fury stepped in the ring with Ngannou in a non-title crossover boxing match. Ngannou was making his pro debut in the sport.
The expected mismatch became an unexpected competitive showdown, with Fury getting dropped in the third round by a left hand.
As the bout played out, the action was close and competitive, with Fury sustaining a cut on his forehead and badly bruised eye.
After ten rounds were in the books, Fury walked away with a razor-close ten round split decision win.
Fury is now scheduled to take part in an undisputed fight with IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk on February 17. There is a two-way rematch clause.
However, Warren anticipates a second helping of Fury vs. Ngannou in the future.
“I think there’s a good chance of that happening. I do,” Warren told The MMA Hour.
“I don’t know [if it’ll be next for Fury]. It’s like jumping too far forward. Let’s get the big one [with Oleksandr Usyk on Feb. 17] out of the way first, and then we’ll see where we go. But I do think [it’ll happen]. Tyson told me that he wants the rematch, and I know Ngannou wants it, because after the fight we were out there, we met at His Excellency [Turki Alalshikh]’s house and we had quite a lengthy conversation. He’s a nice guy, by the way. He’s a really nice guy, good team around him, and I’m quite sure we’ll do it again.”
Warren is confident that Fury will be better prepared the second time around.
“There was no video footage to look at of Ngannou in a ring. All you could look at him of was in an MMA match, in UFC as it was. And when I looked at that, I could see him as a tough guy,” Warren said.
“He’s a big competitor, he’s strong, so I knew that if it was coming into clinches or whatever — Tyson, as he’s fought in his last four fights, where he stood toe-to-toe with people and slugged it out in some cases, like he did with Deontay Wilder, he didn’t do what he used to do in the past, which was to get up on his toes and box, use his jab. He actually stood there and traded with him. And I thought that if they do that, I don’t want him getting in these clinches with Ngannou, because I felt that he’d be used to that.
“But when that first bell went and he came out and I watched as he shapes up, I thought to myself, ‘Oh, this is not what I’m expecting. This is not.’ Normally, MMA guys, they’re a bit more square on. He actually had the stance of a boxer, and he could jab and he was switch hitting. And after a couple of rounds, obviously I believed Tyson was winning, but I thought, ‘This is not going to be the job that everybody’s saying it’s going to be.’”