As the most flamboyant and headline-grabbing heavyweight boxer of his generation, Tyson Fury doesn’t limit himself to the sports news, often making statements that make the mainstream news headlines. With both an unpredictable boxing style and a habit of making bold pronouncements that pique the interest of the press, Fury’s career has had as many highs and lows as his personal life.
In the style of Mohammed Ali, Fury has been known to use the press to whip up support from boxing fans and to intimidate his opponents. He has, in the past, accused rivals of attempting to bully him, but has also engaged in social media disputes with other boxers where he appears to goad them and court controversy by commenting on their form.
His recent revelation that he’s expecting to fight Francis Ngannou has been the talk of the boxing world for the last few days. He is currently scheduled to face off Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium in the next few months, to defend his WBC title.
If he wins this upcoming match, he will face either Anthony Joshua or Oleksandr Usyk for a showdown that will captivate millions of boxing fans all over the world. However, his rivalry with Francis Ngannou has been brewing for months, with a lot of back and forth between the two building up to the announcement that they expect to face off next year.
Fury and Ngannou’s ongoing spat
Having successfully earned the title of UFC Heavyweight Champion, Francis Ngannou has the hardest recorded punch in the world. His professional record is impressive, with 17 wins and only 3 losses over the course of his career.
However, this has not kept him out of trouble with the President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Dana White. Ngannou has gone up against White over his pay, especially since winning the title which tied him into his UFC contract for another year.
The row has encouraged Tyson Fury to go after Ngannou on Twitter, asking who would like to see the two fight each other and generating considerable hype on social media about the potential for a crossover bout between the two. However, it’s not exactly one-sided – Ngannou has been talking about trying his hand at boxing, sharing his ambitions as far back as 2019 and even citing Fury as a potential opponent.
The two have been enthusiastically sparring on Twitter already, with Ngannou suggesting that they use boxing gloves, but fight using MMA rules. Fury may be the favourite when it comes to betting, but that didn’t stop him from rising to the bait, claiming that he would easily knock out Ngannou and talking about the purse that might be on offer for such a fight.
Ngannou has been trading online insults with Fury ever since and even posting mocked-up fight posters to provoke him into responding. Never one to back down from a fight, either physical or digital, Fury has been using his immense earning power to taunt Ngannou by suggesting that he needs to go up against Fury to earn ‘real money’.
UFC and Boxing
The recent revelation that both Fury and Ngannou are hoping to get in the ring together would follow a tradition of crossovers between boxing and UFC. When Connor McGregor was one of the UFC’s top performers, his match with Floyd Mayweather was co-promoted by the UFC.
While Nannou would love this kind of treatment, it’s becoming clear that it is not likely to be forthcoming from Dana White and his team, so the plans to bring the two together have had to be shelved until 2023. With his ongoing spat with Dana White continuing, it appears that he may need to leave the UFC ring in order to fulfil his dreams of fighting for larger purses, not least against Tyson Fury.
Ngannou wants the freedom to go up against Tyson Fury, so there has been speculation that generating social media hype about such a match could change the way Dana White feels about authorising more crossover bouts between UFC fighters and boxers. By demonstrating an unprecedented level of enthusiasm about the idea, fans are showing Dana White that they want to see their favourite stars in the ring together, but whether that will persuade him to offer Ngannou more favourable terms is yet to be seen.
Whether you are on Fury’s side or believe that Ngannou could use his knock-out punch to put an end to the Gypsy King’s bragging, the prospect of a fight between the two has certainly given both boxing fans and UFC followers something to look forward to.
Until the bout actually takes place, though, fans can look forward to plenty more online sparring with both seeming keen to maintain their online rivalry while drumming up enthusiasm for the big fight.