Boxing legend Mike Tyson believes his protégé Francis Ngannou can pull off a surprise in his exhibition fight against heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury.
“He’s all about the fight, he works hard. I think people will be surprised,” Tyson said of the MMA fighter he is training for the October 28 spectacle in Saudi Arabia. “I don’t know if Fury is nervous, but he would have every reason to be.”
Tyson said he was “very proud” of the 37-year-old mixed martial arts star, who is considered a fearsome knockout puncher, during training in Las Vegas. “Having Mike Tyson here in your corner is a psychological help. Sometimes I can’t grasp it, I had to pinch myself,” Ngannou said of the support from Tyson, 57.
The fight against the unbeaten Fury will take place under professional boxing rules only, with other elements of full-contact MMA such as kicking, wrestling and ground fighting banned. “Francis is much stronger than him, I think he will push him around. I’m just looking forward to the sound of the first bell,” Tyson said.
Fury’s WBC belt will not be at stake in the showpiece fight. The Brit last stood in the ring in early December 2022, against compatriot Dereck Chisora, the “Gipsy King” defended his world championship belt in London. Negotiations about a unification fight against the Ukrainian Alexander Usyk failed recently.