LONDON: WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury claimed on Thursday he could beat ex-UFC champion Francis Ngannou in any code of fighting as the two faced off in London at a press conference promoting their “Battle of the Baddest” bout in Riyadh on Oct. 28.
British boxer Fury, known as “The Gypsy King,” who will fight UFC lineal heavyweight top dog Ngannou, “The Predator,” in the Saudi capital to launch this year’s Riyadh Season, was in bullish mood and predicted an easy victory. He added that he would “100 percent” beat the French-Cameroonian fighter at his own game as well.
The contest will take place under professional boxing rules, with three judges ringside adopting the standard “10-point-must” system.
Speaking to media at the event, Fury said: “I’d like to fight (him) in the cage, I think I can beat him for sure. He’s not a good wrestler, he’s known for striking and I’m a better striker than him. In little gloves, I’d knock him out in seconds.”
Ngannou was focusing only on the upcoming fight, though, saying making his professional debut as a boxer was a dream come true.
“I’ve had the dream of being a boxer since I was a kid, not just to box but to box the guy at the top of the mountain. This thing is so big, I can’t stop thinking about it,” he said.
“This is history about to be made, it’s something I didn’t see coming, even though my dream was there, I didn’t see it being one of the biggest events in the world.
“Nobody knows exactly what is going to happen but what I know for sure is I’ll be out there hunting for this guy’s head to take it off, I can guarantee that,” he said.
Alongside his bold claims, however, Fury did say that he respected his opponent’s talent and bravery and would be taking the fight seriously, revealing he was already several weeks into a 12-week training program and working closely with his dietician.
Thanking General Entertainment Authority chairman Turki Al-Sheikh and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for putting on the fight in Saudi Arabia, Fury added: “If I lose to an MMA guy I’ll never be able to show my face in public again, it’s going to ridicule me, people will chuck it at me forever.”
He continued: “Whether the media want to take it as a joke, make no mistake Tyson Fury will leave zero stones unturned and I will come in as my fittest and strongest I’ve ever been to defeat this man.
“If I’m not and I get knocked out, then I want you all to laugh at me. That’s what I want, because I deserve it.”
For Ngannou’s promoter Bob Arum, the Saudi capital is the perfect location for what he is predicting would be a “momentous” fight.
“We are seeing history being made,” he said. “Riyadh is about to become the entertainment capital of the area and maybe one of the greatest entertainment capitals in the world,” he added.
“The plans for that city, and that area, are enormous, so, it is really appropriate (we’re going there). I want to thank the authorities in Saudi Arabia for making it happen, it is the kickoff event of the emergence of Riyadh into the world of sports and entertainment.”
Fury’s co-promoter Frank Warren said it was the “biggest event” he has ever been involved with. “It’s not just about the boxing, it’s about personality and for me, Tyson Fury is the most entertaining heavyweight, and the best fun, since Muhammad Ali,” he said.