When MMA star Francis Ngannou makes his professional boxing debut against undefeated lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on Oct. 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, he will have the backing of one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.
Ngannou announced Thursday in a press release that Hall of Fame boxer Mike Tyson will train him and be in his corner for the massive crossover fight.
The fight is being billed as a battle for the title of “The Baddest Man on the Planet,” which is fitting since it has long been one of Tyson’s most famous nicknames.
Regarding his decision to serve as Ngannou’s trainer, the 57-year-old Tyson said:
“It is no secret I back Ngannou 100 percent in this face-off of champions. He has one hard punch, and when it lands, it’s game over. I am looking forward to working with Ngannou and supporting his transition from the Octagon to the boxing ring.
“He isn’t a combat novice; he is a world champion. He knows how to compete when the bell rings, but the key will be combining his energy and combat skills into his punches and using his agility to move swiftly around the ring then delivering the knock-out blow. We’re here to win.”
Ngannou also commented on teaming up with the former undisputed heavyweight boxing champion who went 50-6 in his career, saying:
“Bringing Mike Tyson into my training camp is one of the best decisions I can make to prepare for Tyson Fury in the ring at this year’s Riyadh Season. Mike Tyson is an idol of mine in the sport. His experience and boxing IQ will be important to honing my technique under his guidance to win this super-fight.
“I’ve been wanting this fight for years and now that it’s here, I’m focused on fighting the greatest fight of my career and shocking the world on the most epic stage for the fans in Riyadh. October 28th, the world will know who’s the Baddest Man on The Planet.”
Per TMZ Sports, Tyson previously showed Ngannou how to hit Fury with a devastating body shot on his Hotboxin’ podcast, and Ngannou told TMZ last month, “I think getting some advice or some training from Mike Tyson would be good.”
Ngannou has never had a pro boxing fight, but he has been hugely successful in the world of combat sports, going 17-3 with 12 knockouts in MMA.
The 36-year-old Ngannou left the UFC in January as the reigning UFC heavyweight champion due to a contract dispute, and he has won each of his past six fights.
While the 6’4″ Ngannou is impressive physically, the 6’9″ Fury will tower over him and could present a significant matchup problem.
That has been the case for Fury throughout his career, as he is the reigning WBC heavyweight champion and has gone 33-0-1 in his boxing career with 24 wins by way of knockout.
At just 5’10”, Tyson was small for a heavyweight, but he overcame that deficiency to become one of the best ever, and he can pass some of that knowledge along to Ngannou.