Heavyweight king, Tyson Fury, and former UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, are in Saudi Arabia and ready for ‘The Battle of the Baddest.’ For the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.
The unlikely pair will open Riyadh Season on Saturday night and their crossover clash promises to be a monumental event.
The outcome of the fight depends almost entirely on what Tyson Fury does. The WBC heavyweight champion can make the fight as easy or as difficult as he likes. He can make it as exciting or as boring as he sees fit and he can decide whether to give Ngannou a chance or whether to totally shut him down.
With that in mind, let’s have a look at a few possible scenarios.
What happens if Fury boxes?
Boxing isn’t only about jabbing, moving and slick footwork.
Since linking up with Sugar Hill, Fury has become more of a front foot pressure fighter. He uses his size, strength and innate fighting ability to dominate his opponents. If the situation demands it, he can still get up on his toes and move but Fury seems to enjoy being a destructive fighter.
In all likelihood, Fury will humiliate Ngannou if he decides to box and move but it will allow Ngannou to rumble forward and get some momentum behind his attacks.
Fury may just decide to stick with the approach that resulted in him stopping Deontay Wilder twice; that rather than staying away from Ngannou’s power shots, it is actually safer to plant himself on Ngannou’s chest, take away all of his leverages and push him backwards. Ngannou will be well versed in clinch work and dirty boxing but trying to put his techniques into practice whilst wearing 10oz gloves will present problems he has rarely encountered, not to mention that the 6ft 9in tall heavyweight champion of the world has spent a good portion of his life engaged in close quarters combat.
If Fury is switched on and concentrated, it will be a straightforward night’s work however he chooses to approach it.
What happens if Fury brawls?
Every single person who pays to watch the fight will be doing so for the same reason. They are interested to see what happens if Ngannou manages to land a clean right hand or left hook on Fury’s chin.
Apparently – according to scientific studies – Ngannou is the hardest hitting fighter on the planet. He recorded a score of 129,161 units on something called a PowerKube. If you prefer to judge your power punchers by the damage they do in the ring or cage rather than a laboratory then it is hard to imagine Ngannou’s shots having the same, violent ferocity of Deontay Wilder’s.
Nonetheless, Ngannou has the power to knock out any human being walking the earth today and although Fury has a reputation as an elusive, slick heavyweight, he has tasted the canvas on numerous occasions. Wilder dropped Fury four times over the course of their sensational trilogy and Neven Pajkic and Steve Cunningham both put him over earlier in his career.
If Fury decided to plant his feet and trade with Ngannou, the Cameroonian’s chances of springing a monumental upset will improve exponentially. He will still need to get it done quickly, however. Fury has shown otherworldly powers of recovery and his body is accustomed to long, hard fights. He would be better suited to a long, physical brawl than Ngannou who would almost inevitably begin to tire after a couple of rounds.
If you think Fury will make a real statement and take Ngannou out early, he is 9/1 for a first round finish.
What happens if Fury wins?
It was recently announced that WBC champion, Fury, and IBF, WBA and WBO champion, Oleksandr Usyk, have agreed terms and signed contracts for a full unification of the heavyweight division.
The Ukranian is expected to be in attendance and with the world watching, it would be a major surprise if he didn’t enter the ring after the fight and and engage in a face-off with Fury.
If all goes to plan and Fury comes out of the fight unscathed, things may move quickly. A date of December 23rd has been heavily rumoured although whether Fury would want to move directly into a training camp for a massive fight with an outrageously gifted southpaw having spent weeks preparing for a giant novice remains to be seen.
Getting past Ngannou will clear the final hurdle between Fury, Usyk and a fight to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis beat Evander Holyfield back in 1999, something boxing desperately needs.
What happens if Fury loses?
Forget Buster Douglas stopping out Mike Tyson, forget Andy Ruiz beating Anthony Joshua. If you want to throw MMA into the mix, forget Matt Sera knocking out Georges St Pierre. Ngannou beating Fury would be the biggest shock in the history of combat sports.
Fury’s fight with Usyk would immediately be thrown into jeopardy and even if it did still go ahead, it would lose most of its lustre. If it’s heavyweight champion and most recognisable figure was beaten by a man in his mid thirties making his professional debut, it would be a hammer blow to professional boxing.
Ngannou wouldn’t just become the unofficial heavyweight champion by beating Fury – there are no titles on the line this weekend, remember – but he would become the most famous sportsman on the planet whilst Fury’s long list of accomplishments would forever be overshadowed by the large figure of Francis Ngannou.