Tyson Fury on promoter’s decision pre-Ngannou bout: ‘I would never ever ever have done that’

BOXING TYSON FURY PRESSER, Boxing World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury is seen during a press conference, PK, Pressekonferenz at Brisbane Domestic Airport in Brisbane, Thursday, May 25, 2023. Tyson Fury is visiting venues in Brisbane to stage a possible World Heavyweight title fight. | DARREN ENGLAND / AAP, IMAGO

Tyson Fury is gearing up for Francis Ngannou AND Oleksandr Usyk

Believe it or not, Tyson Fury has two bouts ahead of him. That’s not the usual practice for the lineal heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

Fury is facing Francis Ngannou this Saturday, October 28 in Saudi Arabia and it’s already been announced Fury will face #1 contender Oleksander Usyk in either late 2023 or early 2024, also in Saudi Arabia.

In fact, it’s kind of a sign of blatant disrespect for Fury’s upcoming opponent, lineal MMA and former UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou. But then, Ngannou is making his professional boxing debut at the very top of the profession.

And as our own Zane Simon wrote yesterday, it’s not even clear whether Fury vs Ngannou is a truly sanctioned professional bout or not and very few oddsmakers are handling the bout.

Fury unhappy about announcement of Oleksandr Usyk bout

Fans have been waiting for the Fury – Usyk bout for a long time, ever since Usyk upset unified champ Anthony Joshua in September 2021. Joshua and Fury had been on the verge of agreeing to fight when a lawsuit forced Usyk, a former cruiserweight, into the title picture.

Joshua got a mandatory rematch in 2022 and Usyk beat him again. Meanwhile, Fury spent most of the intervening time coming in and out of retirement and rematching old rivals Deontay Wilder and Derek Chisora for the third time each.

Finally, the Usyk bout was announced by the very same promoters who are putting on Fury vs Ngannou: the Saudi Arabian government.

“It wasn’t my choice,” said Fury during an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “I would never in a million years do that. But the people who are putting these fights on, who are paying the money, they’re in control. They’re the promoters of the event. So the paymaster does what the paymaster wants, basically. But if it was up to me, I would have never, ever, ever done that. Ever. Because I never count chickens before they hatch. Never.

“I wasn’t happy at first, for them to announce it, but there was a lot going on in the background,“ continued Fury. “For me, I don’t concentrate on any other fight other than Saturday night. What happens in the future stays in the future. I’m living for today and in this moment. And my moment now is to fight Francis for the baddest man on the planet title, and when I’ve won that, only after I’ve won that — I won’t even think about my next until I’ve had a week off and spent some time with my family.  I’ve been in camp 12 weeks. [After that] then I’ll think about what’s happening next.

“They should never announce fights before the first one happens, because that’s how people get knocked out. But I’m not even looking at the next fight. I’m only concentrating on Francis. If it means breaking these two hands and getting a cut right through [my eyebrow] to win, I will do it. Don’t worry about that. Nothing else matters, only Saturday night.”

Fury not taking Francis Ngannou lightly

Or so he says, when he’s not calling the round and method he plans to knock Ngannou out.

“I’m gonna knock him out inside six rounds,” Fury crowed (transcript via Mail Online). “And shall I tell you how I’m going to do it? Get on the front foot, high arm, sticking 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! K.O.”

But he did tell streaming service DAZN that he had “been training for nine weeks unstopped. I don’t leave any stones unturned, ever, that’s why I’ve been undefeated for 15 years, so (camp is going) pretty good.

“Let’s put it this way, if I go to the boozer in a minute, and I get a bit cheeky, and a big old lump swings at me and hits me, it’s going to hurt me isn’t it? Never mind an absolute killer like Ngannou.

“The man’s had 20 fights, he’s going from homeless to being world champion in six years, so I don’t underestimate anyone like that.

“I take him 100% seriously, I’m training as hard for him as I did for [Deontay] Wilder, [Wladimir] Klitschko, anyone. I’ve got to do my job, there’s no foregone conclusions.

“I don’t count my chickens before they hatch. Every man has to be respected and gets credit for stepping in that ring.

“If it’s anything less than an absolute war, it’ll be an easy night, but I’m preparing for an absolute battle royale.”


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Nate Wilcox


Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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