Tyson Fury has claimed that former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou will pose a tougher test than Oleksandr Usyk.
The Briton, who holds the WBC heavyweight world title, had been criticised in boxing circles for taking on the exhibition match rather than fighting the IBF, WBO, IBO and WBC champion. However, a fight between Fury and Usyk is also now on the cards, for either December or January.
Speaking about the Ngannou fight Fury said: “Now I’m fighting Francis Ngannou, who’s stepping up to the plate. And I think he’s going to be a bit of a bigger, tougher challenge than these other guys. These other guys are just boxers; this guy’s more than that.”
Undefeated Fury will be an overwhelming favourite against the 6ft 4in tall, 20st fighter, whose narrative arc is extraordinary. From a small village in Cameroon, Ngannou worked in a sand quarry from the age of 10, later travelled on foot across the Sahara and then boarded a raft across the Strait of Gibraltar. The 36-year-old ended up being homeless on the streets of Paris, before walking into a gym, which changed his life.
The fight will be under normal boxing rules, 10 rounds and three judges will settle the fight if necessary.
When is the fight and at what time?
Fury and Ngannou will go toe to toe on Saturday, October 28.
The main event start time is yet to be announced, but it is expected to begin around 10/11pm (BST).
Who is on the undercard line-up?
Promoters have named an all-heavyweight undercard for fight night. The full line-up is as follows:
Tyson Fury v Francis Ngannou
Fabio Wardley v David Adeleye
Joseph Parker v Simon Kean
Arslanbek Makhmudov v Agron Smakici
Moses Itauma v TBC
Where is it?
Fury will take on the former UFC heavyweight champion in a 10-round fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The exact venue is yet to be confirmed.
How can I watch it in the UK?
The fight will be screened live on TNT Sports in the UK. It looks likely to be on PPV and based on the recent Errol Spence vs Terence Crawford fight, that will cost UK viewers £19.95.
The radio coverage will be on Talksport.
What are the boxers saying?
Fury says he wants the world to laugh at him if he loses a boxing match to former UFC champion Ngannou.
“If I lose to an MMA guy I’ll never be able to show my face in public again,” said the 35-year-old Briton. “It’s going to ridicule me – people will chuck it at me forever.
“If I get knocked out, then I want you all to laugh at me. That’s what I want, because I deserve it.”
Ngannou is being trained by Mike Tyson, a man Fury was named after. “Too bad for him, Mike Tyson loves me more than him,” said Ngannou.
“I have had these dreams since I was a kid to become a boxer,” he added. “It’s not just that I’m going to box, but I am going to box the guy on the mountain.
“Nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen. But what I do know for sure is I am going to be out there hunting for this guy’s head, to take it off.
“What will happen at the moment that guy hits the floor and doesn’t stand up?
“Will I be the best boxer in the world? If you take out the No 1, you are the No 1? I think so.”
Ngannou’s disclosed fees as the UFC champion were $600,000 (£463,000), but Fury said the Cameroonian-French fighter would pocket $10 million for this clash.
What are the best of the odds?
Tyson Fury 1/10
Francis Ngannou 6/1