Boxing heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and ex-UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou will fight Oct. 28 in Saudi Arabia, promoters announced Tuesday.
The latest high-profile crossover boxing match between a mixed martial artist and a professional boxer will take place in a regulation ring, with three ringside judges using the 10-point scoring system. The fight announcement by promoter Top Rank didn’t specify whether the bout will count on the fighters’ professional boxing records or whether Fury’s WBC heavyweight title will be on the line.
Fury and Ngannou have talked about a potential meeting for more than a year since Ngannou’s acrimonious departure from the UFC. Promotional companies Queensberry, Top Rank and Ngannou’s promotional banner, GIMIK Fight Promotions, partnered with Riyadh Season — Saudi Arabia's state-sponsored entertainment and sports festival — to host the fight in Riyadh.
Fury first became the unified world heavyweight champion in November 2015 when he toppled Wladimir Klitschko. After losing his belts during nearly three years of inactivity, the 34-year-old Englishman regained the WBC heavyweight title in 2020 and established himself as the world's top heavyweight.
Fury is 33-0-1 (24 KOs) after stopping Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora last year. He was in negotiations to meet unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk later this year to determine an undisputed champ, but the fight fell apart.
“This guy is supposed to be the hardest puncher in the world, but let’s see how he reacts when he gets hit by the Big GK,” Fury said of Ngannou in a news release. “I can’t wait to get back out there under the lights. I’m looking forward to showing the world that The Gypsy King is the greatest fighter of his generation in an epic battle with another master of his craft.
“It’s going to be a fight for the ages.”
Ngannou will make his professional boxing debut after going 17-3 (12 KOs) in MMA. The Cameroon-born Frenchman who trains in Las Vegas became the UFC’s first African heavyweight champion in 2021, and he defended his title in January 2022 with a clear unanimous-decision victory over undefeated interim champ Ciryl Gane.
“My dream was always to box, and to box the best,” he said. “After becoming the undisputed MMA heavyweight champion, this is my opportunity to make that dream come true and cement my position as the baddest man on the planet.”
The 36-year-old Ngannou said he has been waiting to fight Fury for three years. He decided not to re-sign with the UFC after his promotional contract expired last year, becoming the first active champion to walk away from MMA’s dominant promotion in nearly two decades.