BREAKING NEWS: WBC Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury and UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou have officially set a date to fight in the Middle East later this year.
After teasing a future fight back in April 2022 - when Ngannou stepped into the ring following Fury's sixth-round TKO victory over Dillian Whyte - it seems the two have finally set a date for the bout.
During their shared interview last year, Fury had this to say:
Big Francis Ngannou is here today. He's on my hit list in an exhibition fight, however he wants it: in a cage, in a boxing ring, boxing gloves, UFC gloves, we can make it happen. I think everyone wants to see it. He's a monster of a guy, I'm a monster of a guy, so it will be a clash of the titans for sure.
The 34-year-old returned for a trilogy battle against Derek Chisora in December last year and logged a 10th-round stoppage win to hold onto the top spot in ESPN's heavyweight rankings.
Fury was also in talks to meet Oleksandr Usyk with the undisputed heavyweight championship on the line, but negotiations for that fight collapsed in March. Instead, 'The Gypsy King' will go head-to-head with one of the biggest names in combat sport, Francis Ngannou.
Ngannou's last fight was back in January 2022, when he beat Ciryl Gane with a unanimous-decision to retain his UFC heavyweight title. It looks like this will remain Ngannou's final trip inside the octagon.
After he failed to reach an agreement for a contract extension in the UFC, Ngannou has moved on from MMA and looks to make the leap to the boxing ring. The 36-year-old underwent surgery to repair his MCL and ACL in March this year, and just two months later, signed a deal with the PFL that allows him to box.
My next step has to be boxing. I want to do one boxing match first, and then maybe go back to MMA because I still enjoy MMA. I want to do a couple of fights in boxing. We are working on some stuff and hopefully in a month or two, I will be able to come out with an announcement on potential fight dates and locations. It's taking a little longer than I expected but it's coming along. Big things come with time.
It's clear that both men are serious about the fight, but many details of the event are still unclear.
ESPN insider Mike Coppinger was the first to release the news of the Fury and Ngannou boxing match. In the statement on Twitter he mentioned that WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman didn't respond to the question of whether Fury's WBC heavyweight title will be on the line. Although it's unlikely Ngannou will defeat the 'Gypsy King', fans are hoping Fury will put the belt up for grabs to at least make things a little more interesting.
Coppinger followed up to say that the rules and number of rounds for the contest were also unclear at this time. So, although we now have confirmation of the showdown, the nature of the fight is still very much uncertain.
The Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou fight is set for October 28th 2023, with Eddie Hearn expected to host the launch press conference at a later date.
Will this be yet another easy payday for Fury with no title on the line? Or could it be a game changer for Ngannou, if he's given the chance to steal Fury's belt?
(Header Image Credit: Joe Camporeale - USA TODAY Sports)