By Dane McGuire
Another spectacle boxing bout is on the horizon, but mixed martial artist Francis Ngannou is definitely serious. He will be mentored by one of the sport’s greatest of all time, Mike Tyson ahead of his bout with Tyson Fury.
The bout goes down Oct. 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as part of the Riyadh Season festival. Riyadh Season announced the news in a recent press release.
“It is no secret I back Ngannou 100 percent in this faceoff of champions,” Tyson said in the release. “He has one hard punch, and when it lands, it’s game over. I am looking forward to working with Ngannou and supporting his transition from the octagon to the boxing ring.”
As of yet, it’s unknown if Tyson will be a part of the full fight camp or just join Ngannou when he arrives in Saudi Arabia.
“He isn’t a combat novice; he is a world champion,” Tyson said in the release. “He knows how to compete when the bell rings, but the key will be combining his energy and combat skills into his punches and using his agility to move swiftly around the ring then delivering the knockout blow. We’re here to win.”
Ngannou expressed his admiration for Tyson and also called this fight the greatest of his combat sports career.
WBC officials confirmed to MMA Fighting in July this will be an official bout, not an exhibition. However, Fury’s title is not on the line.
“As soon as that bell goes, it’ll be bombs away,” Fury said when the fight was announced “This guy is supposed to be the hardest puncher in the world, but let’s see how he reacts when he gets hit by the Big GK. I can’t wait to get back out there under the lights.
“I’m looking forward to showing the world that ‘The Gypsy King’ is the greatest fighter of his generation in an epic battle with another master of his craft. Francis looked tough when he jumped in the ring after the [Dillian] Whyte fight, but there is no one tougher than me.”
As a reminder, when it comes to MMA, Ngannou’s PFL deal is exclusive to the sport, allowing this crossover to take place. The signing benefits future MMA opponents as well. ‘The Predator’ has since said opponents will get $2 million guaranteed. Ngannou will be earning half the pay-per-view profits.
Ngannou will also head up PFL Africa and be part of an advisory board for fighters’ interests. His PFL debut is set for 2024 as part of its new ‘super-fight division’.