Tyson Fury ready to take down ‘fat sausage’ Ngannou in Riyadh circus
When Tyson Fury, arguably one of the all-time great heavyweight boxers, takes on MMA fighter Francis Ngannou in Riyadh on Saturday, the question is not just how serious a contest it will be, but rather how seriously Fury takes it.
Ngannou is an experienced exponent of mixed martial arts but at 37 his best years are behind him and he is a novice when it comes to boxing at this level.
The fight has yet to be sanctioned as a professional bout — it is 10 three-minute rounds — and Fury’s WBC heavyweight belt will not be on the line.
Instead, with all parties desperate to lend the contest some sporting legitimacy, the WBC has fashioned a ‘Riyadh Champion’ belt which will allow the winner to strut around the ring at the end with something other than a big, fat paycheque.
Fury, who has a far more serious bout lined up in Riyadh in December against the Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, who currently holds the other three world titles, has been linked with a £50 million ($60.6 million) payout from Saturday’s exhibition.
Fury himself has said in the British press that Ngannou will earn £10 million — not too shabby for your first ever boxing fight.
‘Big fat sausage’
The baddest men on the planet 🌍
— Boxing on TNT Sports (@boxingontnt) October 26, 2023
In spite of the falseness of the show, both fighters are going through the motions in the build-up with the usual badinage bordering on insults.
“Francis Ngannou is a big, fat sausage,” said Fury at his eve of fight press conference on Friday.
“That’s why he won’t take his top off. He’s embarrassed of his body. If it was up to Francis, he’d fight with his t-shirt on.
“He’s the bull, I’m the matador – 99.999 percent of the time, the matador wins.”
To be fair the 36-year-old Briton, whose own ‘love handles’ have been garnering comment in the boxing press, has always presented himself as a cheeky lad with a quip as sharp as his uppercut.
Ngannou, who showed considerable courage in finding a life as an MMA fighter since arriving in France at the age of 26 from his native Cameroon, understands the game but is still showing a slightly thin skin when it comes to Fury’s barbs.
“To be honest, I haven’t gotten any respect from the boxing community, so I am not expecting anybody to respect me,” he said on Friday before adding the need to claim respect from his opponent and the boxing world.
“Respect is not given,” he said. “You don’t just walk out there and demand people to respect you for no reason.
“I think respect is earned, whether it’s the boxing community or life in general.”
If experience was already against him, Ngannou is also giving away five inches (12.5cms) in height and a stone (6.4kg) in weight.
His best chance of winning will be the lucky punch.
“Yes, I am going to fight, and if that big shot comes, it comes,” he said. “If it doesn’t come, I really intend to fight properly.
“Anything is possible. It’s possible. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here.”
If he does land the ‘big shot’, and that’s a pretty big ‘if’, Fury may yet rue this match-up. A defeat would certainly undermine his preparations for the Usyk fight which is likely to see boxing back at its noblest.