This coming Saturday in Saudi Arabia, WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will step in the ring with MMA veteran Francis Ngannou to kick off this year’s Riyadh season.
The contest will be fought under traditional boxing rules, but Fury’s WBC title will not be at stake as Ngannou is not ranked by the sanctioning body.
The former UFC heavyweight champion is making his professional boxing debut, with Hall of Famer Mike Tyson training him for the contest.
While Fury’s WBC title will not be at stake, the World Boxing Council has created another belt to present to the winner.
Once the contest has concluded, the victor will receive the WBC’s “Riyadh Champion” belt.
In a statement, the WBC explained: “To highlight the unique nature of this combat sports event, octagon shapes, synonymous with MMA, have been intricately placed across its face. Positioned at the heart of the design, the flag Saudi Arabia pays tribute to the host city and nation, reflecting the warmth and hospitality for which The Kingdom is known. The Riyadh Season logo is also displayed prominently to celebrate this special season.
“The belt pays tribute to the late Jose Sulaimán whose dream it was to establish a boxing in the Middle East, by including his image. The faces of Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou are also shown, together with WBC heavyweight legend and Ngannou’s trainer – Mike Tyson.
“The Riyadh Champion belt, with its striking designs and symbolism, ensures that the victor will be commemorated not only as a champion of their sport but also as a symbol of unity; as in sports, as in life.”