After months of speculation as to who Tyson Fury would face this year, he finally announced his opponent as Francis Ngannou.
Despite being the current WBC heavyweight champion, the 34-year-old has opted to face a debutant in former UFC superstar Ngannou as opposed to one of the recognised title contenders for what will presumably be his lone bout of the year.
The spectacle has been met with a mixed response, with plenty of popular boxing figures expressing disappointment.
“It’s a load of rubbish. Nobody is interested anymore. They’ve been talking for ages about ‘we’ve got a game changer, it’s gonna be brilliant’ and what a disappointment. Stick to boxing promotion and get a real fight for Fury. Get him in there with Anthony Joshua or get him in with Usyk. Get a move on with it.”
— Egis Klimas (@KlimasBoxing) July 11, 2023
It’s a money spinner so good luck to Fury & Ngannou.
But from a boxing fans perspective, it’s very disappointing and Fury can’t expect people not to give him a stick for it.
We want Fury/Usyk, we want an undisputed champ.
Is it too much to ask??🤷🏻♂️
— matthew macklin (@mattmacklin) July 11, 2023
Mauricio Sulaiman said that Tyson Fury received special permission from the WBC to fight Francis Ngannou as there is no official challenger.
He mentioned that Fury tried to close fights against Ruiz, Joshua and Usyk but no agreement was reached.
— World Boxing Council (@WBCBoxing) July 11, 2023
Said this would happen Months ago and people were calling me a hater! It’s great business and believe me people will watch it! HOWEVER someone making his professional boxing debut against the best heavyweight in the world is CRAZY! Read back what I’ve just said! MADNESS!
— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) July 11, 2023
Low-key facts. Mma fighters can’t throw hands with a boxer. Literally not any of them 😂 https://t.co/tjyocIZgcM
— Not Sunny Edwards (@SunnyEdwards) July 11, 2023
Adam Catterall / Sam Jones
Yep I’m happy for him hope he’s getting paid an absolute fortune
— Sam Jones (@mrsamjones88) July 11, 2023
🤜 𝙋𝙀𝙊𝙋𝙇𝙀 𝙎𝘼𝙄𝘿 𝙃𝙀 𝙒𝙊𝙐𝙇𝘿𝙉’𝙏 𝙇𝘼𝙉𝘿 𝘼 𝙋𝙐𝙉𝘾𝙃…
Conor McGregor was able to land over 100 punches on one of the greatest defensive boxers in history.
Francis Ngannou might only need to land 𝙊𝙉𝙀 𝙋𝙐𝙉𝘾𝙃 on Tyson Fury to go down in history…… pic.twitter.com/dUtzo3ZDfF
— Dev Sahni (@devsahni) July 12, 2023
“I don’t blame Tyson Fury for fighting Francis Ngannou, it’s what you want. He doesn’t seem as bothered about legacy or undisputed [titles], he is going to fight a guy that could fight him a million times and never beat him and he’s going to make forty million. Good luck to him.”
“As soon as that bell goes, it’ll be bombs away! This guy is supposed to be the hardest puncher in the world, but let’s see how he reacts when he gets hit by the Big GK." – @Tyson_Fury
— Queensberry Promotions (@Queensberry) July 11, 2023
Please don’t let this announcement distract from the fact that the name of Ngannou’s new fight promotion is …
GIMIK Fight Promotions.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 11, 2023
— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) July 12, 2023
Whether the fans like it or not Fury will face the Cameroonian power-puncher on October 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
It remains to be seen whether the bout will count as an official professional contest, but it is highly unlikely that the title will be on the line due to Ngannou being unranked and the fight being suggested to be a ten-rounder.