By David Carrero: On Saturday, October 28th, WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will face former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in a boxing match scheduled for ten rounds. The event will take place in Saudi Arabia and will be broadcast live on ESPN+ PPV.
Reactions to the bout between Fury and Ngannou have been mixed. Some have dismissed the event as pointless. While many fans believe Ngannou has almost no chance of defeating Fury, others hope to see Ngannou defy the odds and win by knockout.
If taken purely as entertainment, exhibition matches between champions from different disciplines can create fun and memorable moments for fans. In 1976, Muhammad Ali, then the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, faced Japanese wrestling star Antonio Inoki in an exhibition match in front of 14,500 fans in Tokyo, Japan. Three years later, in 1979, Ali fought in an eight-round exhibition match against Lyle Alzado, a defensive end with the Broncos, in front of 15,000 fans at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado.
Fight fans have an opportunity to enjoy the October 28th boxing match between Fury and Ngannou for what it is: an opportunity to see two superstars of combat sports compete against each other in a unique and exciting way.
Francis Ngannou has a professional record of 17-3-0 and has beaten some of the best mixed martial artists on the planet. Each of his twelve wins by knockout or technical knockout have come in two rounds or less. Ngannou is rightfully regarded as being possibly the most dangerous puncher in professional mixed martial arts. Although few doubt Ngannou’s ability to quickly end a fight against any opponent in MMA, many are not convinced he can compete with Tyson Fury inside a boxing ring.
With a record of 33-0-1 with 24 knockouts, Fury has proven himself to be perhaps the best active heavyweight boxer on the planet. Following three unforgettable fights with Deontay Wilder and recent TKO victories over Dillian Whyte and Derek Chirosa, Fury called for a unification fight with fellow heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Fury recently discussed his interest in exploring options for a new ten-fight deal and will undoubtedly continue to pursue bouts with the biggest names in heavyweight boxing moving forward.
With a December date for a bout against Oleksandr Usyk already confirmed, it’s difficult to argue that Fury’s upcoming bout with Ngannou is getting in the way of more meaningful championship fights taking place within the heavyweight division, as some have suggested.
A crossover fight between dominant heavyweight champions from the worlds of boxing and MMA should pique the curiosity of fans from both sports. If nothing else, the event will likely entertain, engage the fans, attract new viewers to both sports, and draw more attention to both fighters.
David Carrero is a Seattle-based boxing writer. He can be contacted at [email protected]. You can follow him on X: (@DC_SC).