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Carl Frampton says Mike Tyson factor could give Francis Ngannou slight mental edge in crossover fight with Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury will face mixed martial artist Francis Ngannou in a crossover fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday (Photo: Justin Setterfield)
Tyson Fury will face mixed martial artist Francis Ngannou in a crossover fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday (Photo: Justin Setterfield)

Born in August 1988, several weeks after Tyson cemented his status as the undisputed world heavyweight champion by knocking out Michael Spinks, Fury was given his forename in honour of the American great.

Fury has a legitimate claim to being the best in boxing’s blue riband division now and is a prohibitive favourite against mixed martial artist Ngannou in a crossover fight which is ostensibly an exhibition.

However, according to Frampton, former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou might have a slight mental edge after employing Tyson as his trainer for his professional debut this weekend in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Frampton said: “It might not be a massive issue for Tyson, but it’s definitely something he will feel a bit uncomfortable with, that the guy who he’s named after and a hero to him is going to be in the opponent’s corner.

“Mike Tyson was a small heavyweight, he knew how to fight on the inside and Francis is smaller than Tyson Fury. I think the way Francis wins the fight is to get close and land shots from close distance and there’s no better man to teach you that than Mike Tyson.

“Francis been completely written off by the majority of boxing fans and, to be honest, I understand why. I’m not as sure that he has zero chance of winning – he has a chance but it’s very small.

“He’s an athletic guy, explosive, very, very powerful, but the biggest attribute is that he is highly unorthodox. If he’s throwing shots from every angle, it’s actually really difficult.”

The most prominent crossover fight saw Floyd Mayweather face an early barrage before wearing down Conor McGregor to gain a 10th-round stoppage in their highly-lucrative contest in August 2017.

Fury’s WBC title will not be on the line for a fight many view as a mere tune-up for a bout against WBA, IBF and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk, who will be ringside to get a close-up view of his rival.

The pair have agreed a deal for an undisputed world heavyweight title clash, possibly as early as December, but Frampton insists the unbeaten Fury is accomplished enough to keep his focus on Ngannou.

The Belfast man added: “He’ll almost be looking ahead to the Usyk fight because it’s made and he’ll already be preparing for that fight, even though the Francis Ngannou fight hasn’t taken place.

“But I still do think that he’ll be professional enough to know he has a fight on his hands against Francis, who’s looking to switch his lights out.”