WBC and lineal heavyweight boxing world champion Tyson Fury will battle former UFC heavyweight world champion Francis Ngannou in one of the most highly anticipated boxer versus mixed martial arts athlete matches since Floyd Mayweather defeated former UFC double-champion, Conor McGregor.
Both Fury and Ngannou spoke to the media in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia earlier this week ahead of the fight, which takes place Saturday on ESPN+ pay-per-view, with a start time of 1 p.m. ET.
“I didn’t try to replicate what Fury would do,” Ngannou said when asked about his preparation. “I’m not going in there to play Fury’s game. I’m going there to play my own game. So, my training was based on me, how I can fight, and that’s what me and my coaches worked on. It went well. Tough, but it went well.”
The 37-year-old Ngannou, who is from Cameroon and now resides in Nigeria, has a 17-3 record in MMA fights which may not translate into being able to defeat a seasoned boxer on the level of Fury.
“I’m aware of my lack of experience in boxing, but I am a man of challenges, and I’ve overcome a lot of challenges.”
Fury, 35, from Manchester, England, discussed his willingness to trade blows in the center of ring.
“I can stand and trade with anybody,” he said. “I stood and traded with Wilder. I traded with Wladimir [Klitschko], and I’ll stand and trade with this little [expletive]”
The 6-foot-9-inch Fury will carry a 33-0-1 boxing mark into the match up with 6-foot-4-inch Ngannou.
“I might give him a slick, master boxing performance, not let the ugly man touch me once,” Fury bragged. “That would be unbelievable, wouldn’t it? I might start dancing, tripling the jab like Apollo Creed, move around, just stick and move.”
Fury addressed his impending unification fight against unified world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk. The meeting has been formally agreed upon but no date has yet to be announced.
“I’m not thinking about [the Oleksandr Usyk fight],” Fury said. “I got this big sausage to deal with, and once I grill him up nice and good, then we’ll move on to the next one.”
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