Tyson Fury hasn’t read too much into the notorious training video from Francis Ngannou’s open workout last month in Las Vegas.
Skeptics of their 10-round, non-title fight have criticized the footwork and punching technique that the former UFC heavyweight champion displayed while working with Mike Tyson and the rest of his team. The heavily favored Fury, who is much more skillful and experienced in boxing than Ngannou, has still prepared as if his hard-hitting opponent has a legitimate chance to knock him out Saturday night at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“I haven’t paid it much attention, to be honest, to what someone does on a video that they put out there,” Fury told BoxingScene.com. “Because I know I don’t do what I can do in a video. Why would I? Why would I do something on a video so someone can watch it and study it? So, it doesn’t make much sense to me. I would never look at a training video and think, ‘Oh, that’s what he’s gonna do.’ Like Mike Tyson said, everyone’s got a certain plan until they get punched in the face anyway, so we’ll see.”
Fury obviously has plenty to lose against Ngannou, even if his WBC title isn’t at stake. If Fury, whom FanDuel sportsbook lists as a 20-1 favorite, were to somehow lose to a complete novice, his title unification fight against Oleksandr Usyk would be a very difficult sell.
England’s Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) and Ukraine’s Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs), who owns the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts, have signed contracts to fight as soon as December 23 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh. Fury or Usyk, unless their bout results in a draw or no-contest, would emerge from that historically significant fight as the heavyweight division’s first fully unified champion of the four-belt era.
With so much at stake Saturday night, the 6-foot-9, 270-pound Fury will approach the 6-foot-4, 258-pound Ngannou accordingly.
“I just think he’s a big, dangerous fella who can knock somebody out with either hand,” Fury said. “I’m just taking him deadly serious, and I’ll concentrate when I’m in the ring, focused a hundred percent of the time, and do what I do best.”
Fury, 35, and Ngannou, 37, will headline a five-fight TNT Sports Box Office pay-per-view show in the United Kingdom (£21.95; 7 p.m. BST). ESPN will distribute their pay-per-view main event in the United States ($79.99; 2 p.m. EDT; 11 a.m. PDT).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.