The highly anticipated heavyweight boxing showdown between Tyson Fury and former UFC Heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is just days away. The fight goes down this Saturday, October 28 live from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. MMANews will be covering the fight all week, including news coverage in the lead-up, live results and the fallout of what’s sure to be a must-see attraction.
Veteran journalist Shakiel Mahjouri spoke with Ngannou for CBS Sports this week and got his take on a wide variety of topics. Their chat is embedded here, with highlights below:
The build to Fury vs. Ngannou has been a spectacle from the moment the fight has been announced. Fight fans were eager to see Ngannou’s next move after his ugly public split with the UFC and we’re going to see him in a new light this weekend.
In preparation for this high stakes showdown with the Gypsy King, Ngannou has enlisted the help of boxing great Mike Tyson to help sharpen his skills against the 33-0-1 heavyweight assassin. A lot has been said about what Tyson is bringing to Ngannou’s camp and now we’re getting some insights from the man himself.
Ngannou says it’s been “so important and interesting” to have one of the greatest boxers of all time believing in him.
“Just that one thing itself is everything,” said Ngannou. “Then you have to talk about his technique, his fundamentals, his footwork and his skills. Everything you can learn from him… Everything from Mike Tyson you can learn and will make you better.
From UFC to Boxing
Ngannou is making a huge leap from MMA to boxing. Even an elite MMA striker is going to have their work cut out for them against a world champion boxer. Ngannou has studied others who have walked this path before him and says he’s learned a few lessons along the way. One of his biggest takeaways is that every fighter is unique and there isn’t a one-size-fits all approach that’s going to help him cruise to victory. “There is no formula for this,” he said. “It’s just up to every single case.”
If Saturday’s fight goes into the later rounds, Ngannou plans to be ready. Throughout his training, his primary focus has been his conditioning. He believes “cardio carries everything” – including the power behind your punches.
“I’ve been very focused on my cardio and my endurance. That’s why I do believe if this fight goes to the distance I still have my chance. That was my main focus, in fact, because cardio carries everything. Cardio helps you to carry your power for as long as the fight goes.
At the end of the day, Francis Ngannou is proud of himself whether he wins or loses this next challenge. He believes in himself, he’s not afraid of failing and feels he’s put in the work to back up the self-assurance. Even if things don’t go his way, he feels that he’s already ‘won’ just by embarking on this journey.
Head over to CBS Sports to check out Shakiel Mahjouri’s full interview with Francis Ngannou.