(London) WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury announced on Tuesday that he will face Cameroonian MMA star Francis Ngannou in a boxing match in Saudi Arabia on October 28.
The fight will not be an exhibition, Fury’s team said, and will be contested “under official professional boxing rules, with three judges using the 10-point system.” The Briton’s WBC title will not be at stake, however.
The whimsical “Gipsy King”, aged 34 and undefeated in 34 fights, had won the WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight belts by defeating Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko at the end of 2015.
But problems with depression and drug use as well as suspicions of doping kept him out of the rings until 2018.
After a controversial first draw, he won the WBC title in February 2020 at the expense of American Deontay Wilder, whom he again dominated in a rematch.
Holder of the heavyweight belt in the UFC, the most prestigious MMA league, Ngannou, 36, left it with a bang last January to then join the rival organization of the PFL in May.
But it was already planned that he would not play his first fight there until 2024, preferring to devote himself to his confrontation against Fury.
The latter’s last fight was in December, when he stopped fellow countryman Derek Chisora in 10 rounds, but talk of a full heavyweight title fight against IBF, WBA and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine were discontinued at the beginning of the year.
“As soon as the bell rings, the bombs will rain down. This guy is supposed to be the strongest puncher in the world, but let’s see how he reacts when he gets hit by the ‘Big GK'” (Gipsy King), Fury said when the fight was announced.
“I can’t wait to get back in the spotlight. I can’t wait to show the world that the ‘Gipsy King’ is the greatest fighter of his generation in an epic battle against another master of his craft.”
Ngannou does not have a professional boxing track record, but the Cameroonian has repeatedly insisted he dreams of stepping into the ring with Fury.
“I’ve been waiting three years to meet Tyson in the ring. My dream has always been to fight, and to fight the best,” he said.
“After becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion in MMA, this is an opportunity for me to fulfill that dream and cement my position as the baddest man on the planet,” Ngannou said.