Before we can look forward to the undisputed heavyweight title finally being contested, Tyson Fury takes on an all together different assignment this Saturday evening in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in a bizarre 10 round crossover contest.
TNT Sports Box Office televise Fury vs Ngannou in the UK, with ESPN+ pay-per-view broadcasting the bout in the USA.
Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) is reportedly set to make a cool $10 million for this gig, and the WBC champion has already agreed to meet WBA ‘super’, IBF and WBO king Oleksandr Usyk, so a slip-up here is an unthinkable prospect.
‘The Gypsy King’ has flirted with retirement several times in his career, and after regaining his WBC belt in 2020 with a seven round rout of Deontay Wilder, he won their trilogy match via 11th round knockout in October 2021.
Since then, the Morecambe man has been out twice more. In April 2022, he blasted Dillian Whyte away in six at Wembley Stadium in April, before rounding out the year with a barely-needed tenth round stoppage trilogy win against Derek Chisora in Tottenham.
The Usyk fight was discussed and then moved off the table, and a ‘Battle of the Baddest’ meeting with Ngannou has ensued for the time being.
The Cameroonian-Frenchman lost to Stipe Miocic via decision in a bid for the UFC heavyweight title in 2018, and eventually claimed the crown in March 2021 in a rematch second round knockout win.
The 37-year-old defended once on the cards against Ciryl Gane in January 2022, but hasn’t set foot in the Octagon since after his UFC contract expired.
On first look, Ngannou’s boxing skills look somewhat limited, and he will surely need the mother of all hail Mary’s to prevail this weekend.
Prediction: The feeling is that Fury will win, it just depends on when he chooses. I think to save the farce of an early blowout, Ngannou will be taken some rounds, before being pulled out before the halfway mark, wither by stoppage or retirement.
Wardley-Adeleye in British title
There is plenty of heavyweight firepower on show in the Middle East.
Fabio Wardley (16-0, 15 KOs) puts his British heavyweight title on the line, and looks to add the vacant Commonwealth title to his collection, as he meets bitter rival David Adeleye.
This one isn’t likely to last the distance, with both big punchers, but Adeleye (12-0, 11 KOs) has shown vulnerabilities in his career thus far.
The Londoner has won his six inside schedule, the last a fifth round retirement win over Emir Ahmatovic in June.
Prediction: Wardley has also only been the distance once, and I expect this to be a shootout, where the Ipswich man can triumph inside the first six rounds.
Bakole battles Takam
An intriguing contest sees Martin Bakole (19-1, 14 KOs) attempt to continue to climb the rankings. The Congolese, who is based in Scotland upset Tony Yoka last year, and can build on that further here, by taking a win on the scorecards against the veteran Carlos Takam (40-7-1, 28 KOs), who is coming off a split decision win over Yoka in March.
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Former WBO champion Joseph Parker (32-3, 22 KOs) is still campaigning, and has won his last two since a knockout defeat to Joe Joyce.
The New Zealander should have too much for the limited Canadian, Simon Kean (23-1, 22 KOs) in their meeting, likely winning in the early rounds.
Another heavyweight knockout artist is Arslanbek Makhmudov (17-0, 16 KOs), and the Russian based in Montreal should have way too much power for American Junior Anthony Wright (20-4-1, 17 KOs) in what should be a knockout victory.
— Queensberry Promotions (@Queensberry) October 24, 2023
Moses Itauma (5-0, 3 KOs) is trying to fast track his way to the top, and he can bank another win on this bill by blasting away Istvan Bernath (10-1, 8 KOs) inside schedule.
The only non-heavyweight bout comes at super welterweight, where Liverpool’s Jack McGann (8-0-1, 5 KOs) can outscore Alcibiade Duran (12-3, 9 KOs).