MMA superstar Francis Ngannou makes his professional boxing debut against Tyson Fury this weekend, but the former UFC heavyweight champion is already lining up a fight with Anthony Joshua. Ngannou faces WBC heavyweight king Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia on Saturday in one of the biggest crossover events in combat sports history.
Ngannou, 37, is a massive underdog against the “Gypsy King”, underlined by the fact Fury has already booked a showdown with Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight crown, which is pencilled in for December 23 in Saudi Arabia. But the Cameroonian believes he has the knockout power to pull off a stunning upset in the Middle East.
All but one of Ngannou’s 17 mixed martial arts victories came inside the distance and his rise to UFC glory, dethroning Stipe Miocic in 2021, made him one of the most feared fighters on the planet. If he upsets the odds in Riyadh on Saturday, Ngannou has his sights set on Fury’s countryman Joshua at London’s Wembley Stadium, although he would have to navigate his way through a rematch with Fury first.
“I think we’re going to run it back for sure first, then maybe see Anthony Joshua,” Ngannou told Sky Sports. “Possibly, I can’t tell, but I’m very excited by (fighting at Wembley). I was in Wembley Stadium when Fury fought Dillian Whyte, the vibe there was quite electric, was quite exciting. I think I’d like to have that dynamic.”
Fury is a massive -1,400 favorite with the oddsmakers for Saturday’s fight, while Ngannou is priced +750, meaning it would be one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport if the Englishman were to taste defeat.
Ngannou’s challenge is made all the more difficult by inactivity. He has not competed in the octagon for almost two years, with his UFC career coming to an end with a points win over Ciryl Gane to defend the world heavyweight title in January 2022. Ngannou has since signed with the Professional Fighters League but is yet to make his debut in the promotion.
Joshua is preparing for a fight with former world champion Deontay Wilder which is set to be staged in the Middle East, but negotiations have dragged on and the contest is in doubt. Two-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist Joshua last fought in August, knocking out Finland’s Robert Helenius.
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Unlike Ngannou, Fury insists he has no interest in fighting Joshua one day. He told IFL TV: “That bird has flown because he is out in the cold, frozen, and that’s it. [Joshua and Wilder] are not relevant to me and I shouldn’t be relevant to them at all.
“They don’t mean anything to me, they’re finished. They are out in the cold. I laugh the loudest now, it is what it is.”
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