Tyson Fury is confident enough in his ability to beat Francis Ngannou that he has no qualms telling the former UFC heavyweight champion the exact details of how their fight will end.
“I’m going to knock him out inside six rounds,” Fury announced in a TNT Sports face-to-face interview with Ngannou moderated by former champion boxer Carl Frampton.
“Shall I tell you how I’m going to do it? Got on the front foot, high arms, siccing him with a punishing jab, 19, 20 stone in the face — boom, boom, boom — bust him up, swell his eyes out, and then feint, slip, bang. KO. On the front foot, not running away. On the front foot, hand [guarding my] eye, let him hit the shoulder, slip, slip, bang, slip, slip, bang — down in a heap. Listen, no one can take my power. Nobody. These heavyweights don’t have a chance.”
“No, no, no. Come on. Come on,” Ngannou said in response.
“You better believe it,” Fury promised. “I’m going to come out, nice, stiff, snappy jab — bang. Doubling up, maybe even tripling it — bang. Bang, bang, bang. Jab, slip, slip, slip, body shot, uppercut, jab, jab, feint — bang, right hand. Game over.”
“Wow, that looks like a script from a movie,” Ngannou said, laughing. “But as you said earlier, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
Fury, 35, and Ngannou, 37, meet on Oct. 28 in a blockbuster 10-round heavyweight boxing match in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Fury’s WBC heavyweight title will not be at stake, however the bout is expected to go on both fighters’ official records, meaning Ngannou will have an opportunity to become the first boxer to officially stamp a loss onto Fury’s undefeated professional record. The former UFC champ is making his professional boxing debut.
Ngannou faces long odds in his debut — Fury is boxing’s lineal heavyweight champion, as well as an overwhelming betting favorite to win.
When asked how he plans to corral Fury’s size, speed, and movement in an effort to land his own one-shot knockout power, Ngannou took a sly jab at the Englishman.
“Well, I prepare to make him move less,” Ngannou said. “And I know that he asked for the biggest size of the ring possible.”
“Oh no, I didn’t. I didn’t ask for any ring,” Fury quickly replied. “I’ll fight you in a phone box, no problem.”
“OK, so you didn’t ask for a 24-foot ring, Tyson?” Ngannou asked.
“Nope, I didn’t ask for any size ring,” Fury responded. “I’ve not even spoken to the guys. I don’t get involved in the business. But a championship ring is only 20 feet, so if they’ve asked for a 24-foot [ring], let’s do it in a 20-foot. Easy.”
“They asked for 24,” Ngannou reiterated.
Both fighters moved on to a different topic from there, however their debate shifted back to the potential ring size several minutes later, at Fury’s prompting.
“I’ll ask Francis a question. Do you think I’m going to run away from you around the ring? Like boxing away? Using a jab and dancing?” Fury asked. “Because you said the 24-foot ring, so you must think I’m going to [dance around the ring and stay away].”
“Possible,” Ngannou replied.
“Straight out. Me and you in the middle. [I’m going to be throwing big punches.] Whomp, whomp, whomp, whomp,” Fury said.
“I don’t know about that,” Ngannou said dubiously. “I’m going to find out that day. I don’t believe anything that you do now. I know you’re a big character.”
“I told Deontay Wilder that I was going to knock him out, didn’t I?” Fury replied. “In the second fight, I said, ‘I’m not going to box. I’m going to come straight at you.’”
“I didn’t believe you,” Frampton added.
“You didn’t believe me. Nobody did,” said Fury. “I told him I’m going to knock him out on the front foot. I’m going to push him back and knock him out, and I did.”
“That’s both of your business. As far as I’m concerned, I stick to my own plan,” said Ngannou.
“Listen, we’ll have a fight. Don’t worry about that,” Fury promised with a grin.
Fury noted that he committed to a 12-week training camp to prepare for Ngannou, which is double the length of the camps he claimed to have put in for more decorated boxing opposition in the past, such as Deontay Wilder, Dillian Whyte, and Derek Chisora.
Fury explained that Ngannou’s “awkward style” and neophyte level as a pugilist has forced him to prepare more diligently because the former UFC champ will likely be more unpredictable in the ring than a traditional boxer. Fury assured that he is giving Ngannou “100 percent” of his focus, even with his unification bout against WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk already announced for after the Ngannou matchup.
Nonetheless, Ngannou remains undeterred.
“I really believe that everything is possible, and let me tell you something,” Ngannou said. “From where I came from, everything that I have done, nobody believed in me. They thought I was a fool. The moment that I went to do boxing for the first time, I was 22 years old and people thought I was crazy. If I wasn’t big and scary, even my family would’ve put me in a psychiatric hospital because they thought I was losing my sense. Even my mom told me, ‘Hey son, I love you and I’ll always support you, but I hope that you come to your senses at some point in time.’ Right? Until I proved them wrong.”
Ngannou is generally hailed as one of the most fearsome knockout artists in MMA history. Ten of his 12 UFC wins came by way of knockouts, including devastating finishes of Alistair Overeem, Curtis Blaydes (x2), Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, Andrei Arlovski, and Stipe Miocic, the last of which earned Ngannou the UFC heavyweight title in March 2021.
But just as Ngannou remains undaunted by Fury’s experience, Fury is undaunted by the power the PFL star has displayed in the cage.
“I don’t get concerned over a man’s ability, because that’s his God-given talent,” Fury said. “He’s strong and he can punch hard and knock men out. That’s what he does. But all of these guys can punch hard. All heavyweights. If you let a heavyweight hit you in the face, knockout. Sure. So it’s up to me not to let that happen. If he lands a punch on me, great. If he doesn’t, then he doesn’t.
“But my chin in not like a piece of paper, like you just touch and I fall over. You find out that I’m very tough, hence the reason I’ve had 34 fights unbeaten in 15 years. So it’s not like, oh, I’m going to one hit and knocked out. It’s going to be tough.”