Francis Ngannou has been dismissed by boxing fans since the announcement of his fight with Tyson Fury, and he’s been savaged again with footage of his training emerging in public.
Many believe the former UFC heavyweight champion turned boxer is trolling, faking out fans to deliver a bigger shock with a serious challenge to the heavyweight boxing champ.
“Saturday, they will find out,” Ngannou said with a big grin on Monday’s The MMA Hour.
Ngannou makes his professional boxing debut after a decorated MMA career that’s on pause until first quarter 2024, when he expects to make his PFL debut on pay-per-view. The announcement of Ngannou vs. Fury was its own shock after much back-and-forth online but little in the way of apparent negotiations between the champs.
Five days from realizing his long-held dream to box the best, Ngannou has little interest in what critics have to say about his opportunity.
“Whatever they’re going to do, they’re going to watch it [on] the stage,” he said. “I’m the man on the stage, that’s it. I don’t care. It’s my show, man. I managed to get here, and whether you like it or not, it is what it is. You just have to take it.”
The bout reportedly will not be for Fury’s heavyweight titles but instead will be for the WBC Riyadh championship, a nod to the fight’s financial backers in Saudi Arabia. The result will go on both men’s professional records, MMA Fighting previously reported.
Ngannou is +800 underdog in one online oddsmaker, and most boxing fans don’t even give him a puncher’s chance of winning. No matter, he said.
“No, it can’t get under my skin,” Ngannou said. “Listen, it’s the entire story of my life, every time it’s been like that, from the beginning, from the very beginning since when I was a kid, dreaming to become a fighter, my family did the same thing. Even people that you know for sure love you, but they couldn’t see your vision, understand what you’re doing, so they always doubted me, and look how far we’ve coe. I’ve always managed my way through, and I don’t care.”
Fury and his team have indicated they don’t see Ngannou as a threat by targeting a title unifier with Oleksandr Usyk for Dec. 23. A Fury loss could scuttle that date, but Ngannou doesn’t take that as a slight.
“If you look at it from the right angle, this fight, the Usyk fight, was the fight that Tyson was supposed to be negotiating,” he said. “I took the same, and I got the fight. So he’s fighting me first. I don’t really care what he’s going to do after, with Usyk or whomever he’s going to do it with. I’m having the biggest stage here.
“Even though the boxing community will consider that fight the most legit fight because it’s a unified title, I’m having a big stage. He can’t be as big as this, no matter what, so why would I be upset about something that is smaller than what I have.”
And if Ngannou manages to shock the world by knocking out Fury, and the heavyweight champ and boxing world have to wait for the belts to be unified?
“That’s their problem,” Ngannou said. “That’s not mine. I don’t have to deal with that. I think about what’s next for me. I’m also going to fight somewhere in the future, too.”