Saudi Arabia will this week play host to one of the most extraordinary crossover boxing bouts yet, when WBC champion Tyson Fury faces former UFC heavyweight title-holder Francis Ngannou in Riyadh. Here are the details.
What is it?
Entitled, “Battle of the Baddest”, the crossover boxing match pits against one another Fury and Ngannou, who each reigned supreme at heavyweight in boxing and mixed martial arts, respectively.
It is a 10-round, non-title fight, marking Ngannou’s first foray in professional boxing. The fight night kicks off Riyadh Season 2023, billed “one of the world’s largest winter entertainment events”.
Where is it?
“Battle of the Baddest” is to be held at Kingdom Arena, Riyadh.
When is it?
The event will take place on Saturday, October 28. The card is expected to get under way at 8pm local time (9pm UAE), with Fury-Ngannou anticipated to make their ring walks around 12:40am.
Fury, 35, is the reigning WBC champion, and unbeaten in all 34 professional boxing bouts (33-0-1, with 24 knockouts). In 2015, the Brit boxer stopped long-standing champion Vladimir Klitschko to become the unified heavyweight champion.
Fury was later involved in one of the sport’s great trilogies when he twice defeated Deontay Wilder (the first match-up was scored a draw). Taking Wilder’s WBC title in their second clash, Fury was last in action against Derek Chisora last December, when he secured a 10th-round TKO in London.
Ngannou, meanwhile, rose to the summit of his sport in 2021 by defeating Stipe Miocic to become the UFC heavyweight champion. The Cameroon athlete, 37, went on to retain his crown against Cyril Gane the following year, increasing his win streak to six.
However, Ngannou was stripped of the title in January – 12 months after seeing off Gane – after a long-running contract dispute with the UFC. He subsequently left the promotion to sign with the Professional Fighters League (PFL). Yet to compete for the company, Ngannou's pro record reads 17-3-0.
While never competing professionally in boxing, Ngannou trained in the sport before his MMA career took off. For the Fury encounter, he is working under the tutelage of former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
Elsewhere on Saturday’s card, Fabio Wardley (16-0) and David Adeleye (12-0) vie for the British heavyweight title, while former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker faces off against Canada's Simon Kean.
Tyson Fury v Francis Ngannou (heavyweight)
Fabio Wardley v David Adeleye (heavyweight)
Joseph Parker v Simon Kean (heavyweight)
Carlos Takam v Martin Bakole (heavyweight)
Arslanbek Makhmudov v Junior Anthony Wright (heavyweight)
Moses Itauma v Istvan Bernath (heavyweight)
Jack McGann v Alcibiade Duran Galvan (super welterweight)
How to watch?
Tickets for “Battle of the Baddest” are available at https://webook.com/en-US/events/battle-of-the-baddest and start at SAR 100 (Dh98). The event will also be available on a pay-per-view basis via streaming service DAZN.