Francis Ngannou like a ‘mule’, looked ‘stiff, awkward, slow’, claims former WBC champ

Francis Ngannou’s open workout has been slammed

Former UFC champ Francis Ngannou invited the media to watch him work the pads last week. I’m sure he thought it would help sell him as a legit boxer and someone who would be competitive against Tyson Fury in a few weeks time.

Didn’t really go to plan, did it?

Ngannou’s workout with Dewey Cooper and Mike Tyson has been torn apart by fans and experts alike. The criticism has centered around how slow ‘The Predator’ looked, especially his hands. Ngannou also looked pretty tired during the routine, which looked more like a class than a workout.

Francis Ngannou open workout.

John Fury, who is hardly an objective obvserver, said “God help him” when reviewing the footage and claimed the upcomming fight could be one of Fury’s fatest ever KO wins.

Now former WBC middleweight champ Carl Froch has got in on the action. He tore Ngannou’s workout apart and suggested it’s a sign that the current PFL fighter will be totally outclassed in the boxing ring.

“Listen, this is a f****** sparring session, probably the easiest spar he’s ever had,” said Froch (via Best Gambling Sites). “I don’t care that Ngannou can punch, a mule can kick really hard, but he’s never going to be able to line it up.”

“Fury’s not going to be worried about getting hit by that monstrous punch because I’ve seen Ngannou on the pads and he looks terrible,” continued Froch. “He looks like what I’d expect a zero fight novice to look like; slow, awkward, stiff – how is he going to get near Fury? He’s going to get his head absolutely peppered off.”

Tyson Fury already looking beyond Ngannou

Last week Frank Warren announced that Tyson Fury had signed an agreement to fight Oleksandr Usyk in an undisputed heavyweight title fight. That fight could happen just two months after the Francis Ngannou exhibition. The bout is also due to take place in Saudi Arabia (like Fury vs. Ngannou).

The timing of the announcement is a tell-tale sign that Fury and his team don’t think Ngannou poses much of a threat. Froch thought the timing was genius, though.

Tyson Fury showing off his out-of-competition physique during an appearance with Francis Ngannou. IMAGO/Dean Fardell Avalon

“The announcement is perfect timing. What Frank Warren has realised is that Fury-Ngannou does not appeal to the proper boxing audience, it’s more for the crossover Misfits audience, so by announcing Fury-Usyk is definitely happening, all of sudden everyone’s tails are wagging and ears have pricked up, and they’re now all probably going to tune into the Ngannou fight on the back of that because now there’s interest in what Fury’s looking like. It’s perfect timing for the announcement and the sceptics will say, “what if Fury gets injured?”.

Froch also gave his take on the Fury vs. Usyk match-up.

Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou is the only instance of Saudi Arabia getting involved in combat sports.

“I can make a case of Usyk beating Fury,” he said. “He has the skills and the ability and he’s used to fighting bigger guys since he entered the heavyweight division, he’s thicker set and he’s put a bit of weight on, and he seems to be able to hold his own. But he is getting older and slowing down a little bit, but so is Fury, so he could outbox, outwork, and outskill him.”

Froch continued to say that if Fury showed up in shape for the fight, he’s the favourite to win.

“I think Fury nullifies his work and ties him up. I’m not so sure if he gets the stoppage.  I just think that the size of Fury will be a problem. I don’t think Usyk can make that range up against the 6 ‘9 Fury.”

Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk is for a date TBD. Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou is set for October 28.

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About the author

Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim’s specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE’s lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at [email protected]. Nice messages will get a response.

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