Boxing fans brace yourself; the wait is almost over for the most anticipated event of the year. October 28th will mark a historical day in combat sports and entertainment when the current WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, “The Gypsy King” faces off against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia. This fight will be the spectacular opening of this year’s Riyadh Season, one of the world’s largest entertainment festivals that welcomes visitors from across the globe.

The long-awaited battle of behemoths kicks off Riyadh Season, which runs throughout the winter months in the Kingdom’s largest city. Since the launch of the Riyadh Season in 2019, the festival has welcomed visitors from all over the world to experience thousands of concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and other unique cultural events. This year’s festival is set to be the
biggest one yet, with experiences including World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) ‘Crown Jewel’ event featuring WWE superstars including the legendary John Cena and the ‘Riyadh Tennis Season Cup’ which will feature the world’s top ranked male and female champions.

The Fury vs Ngannou bout will take place under official Queensberry rules over ten rounds. While Fury’s WBC title is not on the line, this fight will go on both men’s records as an official bout, sanctioned by the WBC as a special event. Boxing traditionalist all over the world might not fully respect the matchup between arguably the best heavyweight in boxing versus a former UFC fighter that has no professional boxing experience. But one cannot deny the magnitude of the event with all the promoting and advertising during the buildup.

Legends of combat sports from across the world are making their way to Riyadh for The Battle of the Baddest. A few of the names that will be in attendance include Manny Pacquiao, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Ricky Hatton, Dmitry Bivol, Roy Jones Jr., Lennox Lewis, Israel Adesanya, Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Teddy Atlas, Erik Morales and Mike Tyson. Iron Mike Tyson has been training Ngannou in preparation of the matchup.

When Tyson Fury knocked out Dillian Whyte in April of 2022, Fury wasted no time and called out, then-promotional free agent and MMA megastar, Francis Ngannou to stand across him in the ring. Fury has accomplished almost everything in professional boxing and would not turn down the opportunity to put together one of the biggest fights in the sport’s history. During Riyadh Season in Saudi Arabia, both men have a chance to shine on the world’s biggest stage.

Many have criticized Fury for taking this fight. However, it’s easy to forget the battle Fury had to get back in the ring after the crowning moment of his career. Having battled with weight gain and serious mental health issues, stepping into the ring seemed like nothing more than a dream. However, Fury battled back from near-impossible odds and ended his three-year retirement. The ‘Gypsy King’ not only returned to the ring, he once again climbed to the top, proving to the world that he could do anything he set his mind to. Having faced all that he has, Fury finds himself once again on the verge of history.

During an exclusive interview with Queensberry Promotions, Fury emphasized that he even amazed himself by his ability to come back.  Tyson couldn’t even recognize his former self in videos of the heavier Gypsy King. He dropped the mic after ending the interview by shouting “When everyone thought I was done, I’ve come back stronger than ever!”

The always entertaining Gypsy King has remained consistent with confidence during the buildup of the fight. Regardless of the boastfulness he knows to not take Ngannou lightly and claims that “He has the same chance as anyone else, the punchers’ chance.” Mere seconds later he follows that up with “Let me say it as the American’s would say it, I’m gunna knock this mother f8cker out!” If you’re fan of entertainment and the heavyweight division, you do not want to miss this event.

The future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest heavyweights ever has seemingly done it all throughout his long career. This will be an opportunity for Fury to put the sport of boxing on his shoulders and showcase his skills against another superstar athlete. This fight will also allow him to put on a show before another highly anticipated super fight – a unification bout with Oleksandr Usyk, to determine the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Wins against Ngannou and Usyk will solidify Fury as one of the greatest to step foot in the ring.

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)

A champion of fighting through adversity, Ngannou is used to being the underdog. Raised in poverty, Ngannou had worked in quarries since he was 10. His aspiration had always been to become a boxing world champion, and at the age of 26, Ngannou understood he would need to leave his hometown in Cameroon to realize his dreams. Fourteen months later, Ngannou finally made it to Europe and was ready to work. Francis experienced a quick rise to the top in the world of mixed martial arts, knocking out anyone who would stand across from him. However, championship-level boxing was always in the back of his mind. Prior to signing with MMA promotion PFL, The Professional Fighters League, Francis Ngannou made his intentions to fight the world’s best boxers very clear. The deal he signed gave him executive and equity ownership over PFL Africa and the freedom to pursue professional boxing.

Ngannou now finds himself in a position he’s dreamt of his entire life, and he is not taking this opportunity lightly. During the final press conference on Tuesday, Ngannou expressed his excitement for the magnitude of the event. “I cant believe it. When I walking in, I was looking at it and thought, damn the boy has made it!”

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)

Tyson Fury Vs Francis Ngannou Betting Odds

Method of victory Tyson Fury Francis Ngannou
Win outright -1,400 +800
Win by KO/TKO -550 +850
Win by decision or technical decision +600 +5,000
Draw +2,500 +2,500

Per our odds calculator, Fury’s -1400 status equates to a win probability of 93.33%, and a $100 bet on him pays $107.14. Ngannou, a former UFC champion, gets an 11.11% chance at +800 odds, and a $100 bet yields $900.

(Source: Odds Shark)

Prediction: Fury is the huge favorite on Saturday night, betting on The Gypsy King to win outright doesn’t hold much value. The value bet is for Fury to win by KO/TKO. On betting sites that allow you to place more specific bets is where you’ll find the most profitable returns. Expect Fury to dance and toy with Ngannou early on, with the pressure ramping up in round 3. There will be moments in the fight where we see combinations and heavy blows exchanged. That is exactly where Fury shines, he loves to go toe-to-toe, almost embracing it. Ngannous’ best chance in the fight is to catch Fury with a power counter punch during one of the heated exchanges. Problem is, Fury is likely to get up off the canvas even if he’s able to score a knockdown.

Keep an eye out for Ngannous’ endurance throughout the fight. 10 rounds of boxing is quite different stylistically than the MMA approach. Fury will use his jab and movement to ware down Ngannou, don’t expect this fight to go the distance.

This Battle of the Baddest is a can’t miss fight. History will be made on October 28th at Riyadh Season. Two of the most skilled combat sports athletes will go toe to toe in an all-action 10-round professional boxing match, with the winner declared the baddest man on the planet.

Promoted by Queensberry, Top Rank and GIMIK Fight Promotions, the Fury-Ngannou card will stream live on Top Rank on ESPN+ PPV in the United States beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT. Priced at $79.99 across all distributors, it also will be available via cable and satellite pay-per-view providers.

The pay-per-view undercard will be an all-heavyweight extravaganza and features a 12-round showdown between undefeated British standouts Fabio Wardley (16-0, 15 KOs) and David Adeleye (12-0, 11 KOs), along with a 10-rounder between former heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker (32-3, 22 KOs) and Canadian knockout artist Simon Kean (23-1, 22 KOs).

Montreal-based wrecking ball Arslanbek Makhmudov (17-0, 16 KOs) will fight the upset-minded Junior Anthony Wright (20-4-1, 17 KOs) in a 10-round tilt, and Moses Itauma (5-0, 3 KOs) will open the pay-per-view broadcast in a six-rounder against Istvan Bernath (10-1, 8 KOs).

At Tuesday’s grand arrivals, this is what Fury and Ngannou had to say:

Tyson Fury

“I can stand and trade with anybody. I stood and traded with Wilder. I traded with Wladimir {Klitschko}, and I’ll stand and trade with this little bi*ch.”

“I might give him a slick, master boxing performance, not let the ugly man touch me once. That would be unbelievable, wouldn’t it? I might start dancing, tripling the jab like Apollo Creed, move around, just stick and move.

“When {Ngannou} feels this right hand, he won’t be winning very much.”

“Sometimes I stand in front of the mirror and think I’m an absolute genius. When everyone thought it was all over for the GK, he comes and totally redeems himself and pulls this out of the hat. Only six months ago, I didn’t know if I ever was going to box again. Now, here we go.”

“I’m not thinking about {the Oleksandr Usyk fight}. 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.”

Francis Ngannou

“I can’t believe it. Walking from there, I looked at it like, “The boy made it.'”

“I didn’t try to replicate what Fury would do. 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.”

“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.”

“Before anything can happen on Saturday night, there are two. We are already the two baddest men on the planet. We’re just aiming for the first spot.”

“I’ve been waiting on Tyson Fury for four years. At the time, I didn’t know about Oleksandr Usyk. When the opportunity came, I wanted Tyson Fury. He’s the guy.”

Saturday, October 28

Top Rank on ESPN+ Pay-Per-View (2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT)

Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou, 10 rounds, heavyweight

Fabio Wardley vs. David Adeleye, 12 rounds, heavyweight

Joseph Parker vs. Simon Kean, 10 rounds, heavyweight

Arslanbek Makhmudov vs. Junior Anthony Wright, 10 rounds, heavyweight

Moses Itauma vs. Istvan Bernath, 6 rounds, heavyweight




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