Tyson Fury responded incredulously when he was informed Tuesday night that one of his co-promoters stated moments earlier that he shouldn’t stand and trade with Francis Ngannou.
Bob Arum reminded Frank Warren, Fury’s other co-promoter, of the nearly costly consequences when the 6-foot-9 Fury was aggressive against Deontay Wilder, who floored Fury twice during the fourth round of their third fight two years ago. Fury recovered from that troublesome fourth round, knocked Wilder to the canvas for the second time in the 10th round and brutally knocked out the former WBC heavyweight champion in the 11th round.
Fury’s remarkable recovery versus Wilder in October 2021 is among the reasons that the athletic, strong, unbeaten WBC champ is completely confident that he can bang with the heavy-handed Ngannou, a mixed martial arts star who will make his pro boxing debut in their 10-round main event Saturday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“Behave yourself,” Fury jokingly told Queensberry Promotions’ Dev Sahni during their grand arrivals in Riyadh. “I can stand and trade with anybody. I stood and traded with Wilder. I stood and traded with Wladimir [Klitschko]. I’ll stand and trade with this little bitch.”
Sahni reminded Fury that Cameroon’s Ngannou is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having thrown the hardest punch.
“Says who?,” Fury replied. “Well, I’ve not had a go at punching, so he ain’t beat me. I have beat the actual biggest puncher in boxing and knocked him out. So yeah, until he beats me he can only ever dream about that record. The biggest puncher in combat sports – me.”
Ngannou has stated throughout this promotion that he isn’t sure whether the brash Brit will fight off of his front foot or he will employ a safer strategy because he has already signed a contract to oppose Oleksandr Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) either December 23 or sometime early in 2024. Even Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) tempered recent predictions during their grand arrivals that he’ll press the action against Ngannou and suggested that he’ll use his boxing ability to out-point the former UFC heavyweight champ.
“Well, I might give ‘em a knockout, or I might give them a slick master boxing performance, not let the ugly man touch me once,” Fury said. “That’d be unbelievable, wouldn’t it? Come on, start dancing, tripling the jab like Apollo Creed, sticking and move, Rocky, sticking and move. Bums brawl, don’t they? You can go to a pub and see two big lumps knocking [the stuffing] out of each other. But what I can do is only a gift from God. Not very many people can do what I can do, twist and move, bend, triple the jab, follow four right hands behind it, slip and counter with me hands down. It’s like a unique gift.”
FanDuel sportsbook lists Fury as a 20-1 favorite over Ngannou, up from 13-1 last week. The bout between Fury, 35, and Ngannou, 37, will headline five-fight pay-per-view events in the United Kingdom (£21.95; 7 p.m. BST) and the United States ($79.99; 2 p.m. EDT).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.