A highly anticipated boxing bout between heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury and ex-UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou will take place in Saudi Arabia on October 28—a groundbreaking combat fixture that could be one of the biggest sporting events of the year.
The boxing match will follow official professional boxing rules and take place in a regulation ring, according to an official release, which added that both fighters “are promising to meet in the middle of the ring, go to war and win by knockout in devastating fashion.”
Ngannou, 36, has not fought since January, when he defended the UFC heavyweight belt against French fighter Ciryl Gane—a bout that took place not long after he and UFC president Dana White failed to reach a contract agreement after contentious negotiations.
Fury, 34, retained his World Boxing Council heavyweight belt against Derek Chisora last December and is now putting his undefeated 33-0-1 record on the line in his fight against Ngannou.
Fury implied in a tweet Tuesday that the fight would crown the winner as “the baddest man on the planet,” adding: “What will be done in the kingdom will echo around the world.”
What We Don’t Know
The fight announcement did not declare how many rounds the heavyweight juggernauts would fight. Speculation has swirled around whether or not Fury’s WBC belt will be on the line but nothing has yet to be confirmed by official sources.
What To Watch For
Outside of the fight’s outcome, there is also great anticipation around how much Fury and Ngannou will make from the fight. However, it is safe to assume Ngannou will finally get the payday he’s been looking for following his departure from the UFC, as boxing is far more lucrative of a sport than mixed martial arts. Fury said in a recent podcast that fighters can earn 10 to 50 times the amount they get paid in MMA through boxing.
The fight between the two heavyweight champions has been anticipated for more than a year now. Ngannou, who was one of the most hyped-up UFC heavyweights of all time, left the promotion last year after a contract dispute he said was not primarily about money. The ex-UFC fighter later said that during negotiations, he requested health insurance, sponsors and a fighter advocate at UFC board meetings, encouraging the concept that all UFC fighters should have the same. Ngannou later joined UFC rival promotion Professional Fighters League in May this year, telling the New York Times, “Let’s just say, all-in my deal with P.F.L. is more than anyone else offered.” Ngannou advocating for better pay and benefits drew support from fighters and fight fans, some of which were happy to see the heavyweight secure the landmark fight with Fury, which is sure to pay him handsomely.
Francis Ngannou’s Massive Deal With PFL Could Change Everything In MMA (Forbes)
Tyson Fury to fight ex-UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou in Saudi Arabia (The Guardian)