Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou fight in Saudi Arabia announced

Mike Coppinger, ESPNJul 11, 2023, 9:13 a.m. ET

Tyson Fury, boxing heavyweight champion, and Francis Ngannou, former UFC heavyweight champion, will fight on October 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The announcement clarified that the bout would take place in a regulation boxing ring under boxing rules, including three ringside judges using a must 10 point system.

What remains unclear is the number of rounds, whether Fury’s WBC heavyweight title will be on the line, and whether the fight will count towards their professional boxing record.

“I can’t wait to get back out there under the lights,” Fury said in a statement. “I can’t wait to show the world that the King of Gypsies is the greatest fighter of his generation in epic battles with the rest of his craft.”

“My dream has always been to box, and to box the best,” Ngannou said in the statement. “After becoming the undisputed MMA Heavyweight Champion, this is my chance to fulfill that dream and cement my place as the baddest man on the planet.”

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Fury and Ngannou teased an upcoming meeting in April 2022, sharing the ring following Fury’s sixth-round TKO victory over Dillian Whyte in London to retain his WBC heavyweight title.

“Big Francis Ngannou is here today,” said Fury at the time. “He’s on my hit list in exhibition fights, however he wants to be: in a cage, in a boxing ring, boxing gloves, UFC gloves, we can make it happen. I think everyone wants to see him. He’s a monster of a man, I’m a monster from a man, so it’s bound to be a clash of the titans.”

The 34-year-old Englishman returned for a trilogy fight with Derek Chisora ​​​​in December, a 10-round stoppage win to maintain top spot in the ESPN heavyweight rankings.

Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) was in talks to meet Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship in April at London’s Wembley Stadium, but negotiations fell through in March.

Now, ESPN’s number 7 pound-for-pound boxer will meet one of the most recognized names in combat sports in a star-studded event in the Middle East.

Ngannou (20-3-3 MMA record) last competed in January 2022, when he defended his UFC heavyweight championship with a unanimous decision win over Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. That turned out to be Ngannou’s last fight in the Octagon.

After he was unable to reach contract renewal terms with the UFC, Ngannou parted ways with the MMA organization in January. Now, he is gearing up to make his boxing debut, realizing a lifelong dream he set out to achieve when he left Cameroon for France at the age of 26.

Ngannou, 36, had surgery in March to repair his MCL and ACL. Two months later, he signed a deal with the PFL that allowed him to box as well.

“My next step is boxing,” Ngannou told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto in March. “I want to do one boxing match first, and then maybe go back to MMA because I still enjoy MMA. I want to do some fighting in boxing. We’re working on a few things, and hopefully in a month or two I’ll be able to do that. came out with an announcement about a potential fight date and location.

“It’s taking a little longer than I expected, but it will come. Great things come with time.”

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