By: Sean Crose
“Who would like to see me fight this beast boxing rules @ufc gloves?” undefeated WBC and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury tweeted Thursday. This was accompanied by a pic of himself and UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou. Fury also placed Ngannou’s and UFC honcho Dana White’s Twitter handles on his post. Although Ngannou is set to face Ciryl Gane in the octagon in the weeks ahead, the Cameroonian fighter has very publicly expressed interest in boxing. And, unlike other UFC crossovers, Ngannou has a boxing-focused background.
“I can’t see myself retiring without boxing,” the Independent reports the 35 as saying . Not only that, the MMA powerhouse has indicated that he wants to fight the best. “Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder – I would like to test myself to their level,” he said. Ngannou is unique in that he understands the keen differences between boxing and mixed martial arts, something others who have tried to jump from one sport to another haven’t seemed to fully grasp.
“It’s not the same sport,” he’s said, “but I’m the champion, so I’m in the top in this division. At the end of the day, it’s just about throwing hands, throwing punches, having a good delivery system to throw those bombs.” As Yahoo Sports puts it: “Ngannou is widely considered to be the greatest power-puncher in UFC history.”
Of course, it would be Tyson Fury Ngannou would be going up against here – perhaps the most skilled heavyweight since Lennox Lewis. A towering Englishman, Fury is unique in that he has remarkable defensive skills, but can also smother and bulldoze an opponent. Fury’s last match, a third go round with Deontay Wilder last fall, was the stuff of highlight reels. Each man had tasted the mat before Fury finally put his ferocious opponent away in jaw dropping fashion in the tenth.
Still, Ngannou appears determined. Boxing looks to be a legitimate goal for the man rather than a lucrative lark. “I’m sure that if I deliver my own punches pretty good,” he’s said. “I can (do) some damage.” Indeed, the Independent writes that “Francis Ngannou has said his next contract with the mixed martial arts promotion must include a clause that allows him to cross over into boxing.”
A true rags to riches story, Ngannou moved from his native Cameroon to France as a young man looking for opportunities. “Fueled by a love for watching a prime Mike Tyson,” John Morgan of MMAJUNKIE has written, “Ngannou thought boxing might provide a way out of poverty.” The future UFC star was convinced to try his hand at MMA – and the rest, as they say is history. Unless, of course, Ngannou ends up in the ring with Fury. At worst, it would make an interesting footnote in each man’s biography.
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