Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou: Fight predictions, odds, undercard, expert picks, preview, start time

Two combat sports titans are set to collide in the boxing ring on Saturday when WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury battles former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. The bout features the two baddest men in the world in their sport, adding an extra something special to the constant parade of “crossover boxing” events.

Fury has never tasted defeat as a professional and has met other massive punches, including three fights with Deontay Wilder in which Wilder scored knockdowns but could not keep Fury on the canvas. Fury also is set to face WBA, WBO and IBF champion Oleksandr Usyk with a targeted date of Dec. 23, which adds a bit of extra intrigue to the Ngannou fight as any injury or cut could set Fury back from his pursuit of becoming the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the four-belt era.

“How do I prepare for a guy like this? It’s pretty difficult, but in America, we say a statement like this, ‘I’m gonna knock a motherf—er out!’ And that’s how we do it. I’ve been working with SugarHill [Steward] to knock him out cold on Saturday night, and I have no doubt in my mind that I will knock him out,” Fury said at the final press conference this week.
“He’s a big, strong guy. Obviously, he’s got a good punch. But so am I. I’m a big, strong guy. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be the world heavyweight champion. But I believe there’s levels to the game. And he’s going to find out my level on Saturday night.”

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Ngannou defeated Stipe Miocic in March 2021 to win the UFC heavyweight championship. He defended the title with a decision over Ciryl Gane the following January and then parted ways with the UFC amid a bitter round of contract negotiations. One of the sticking points in those negotiations was Ngannou’s desire to take a chance in the boxing ring.

“This is a dream come true. And I remember four years ago, when I first met Mike Tyson, my only request was for him to be in my corner if I fight Tyson Fury,” Ngannou said at the final press conference this week. “People thought I was losing it. They thought I was crazy. They thought it would never happen. But here we are. The fight is happening. So, I’m living a dream. This has always been my dream. It wasn’t easy, but we are here.

“I want to thank Tyson Fury for taking the fight and taking this risk because there is a lot of risk here for him. He might go to sleep on Saturday night. But I appreciate his courage, and I thank him.”

With so much happening on Saturday night, let’s take a closer look at the full fight card with the latest odds before we get to our staff predictions and picks for the PPV portion of the festivities.

Fury vs. Ngannou viewing information

  • Date: Oct. 28 | Start time: 2 p.m. ET (main event around 5 p.m. ET)
  • Location: Boulevard Hall — Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • How to watch: ESPN+ PPV

Fury vs. Ngannou card, odds

  • Tyson Fury -1400 vs. Francis Ngannou +750, heavyweights
  • Fabio Wardley -310 vs. David Adeleye +230, heavyweights
  • Joseph Parker -1200 vs. Simon Kean +600, heavyweights
  • Arslanbek Makhmudov vs. Junior Anthony Wright, heavyweights
  • Moses Itauma vs. Istvan Bernath, heavyweights

Predictions and expert picks

Brian Campbell, writer and host of “Morning Kombat”: Inevitably, this fight will become the skill mismatch it’s expected to be but not without Fury using his size in order to force Ngannou to carry his weight in hopes of a late knockout. The problem remains that Ngannou, who took a beating for the final four rounds of his first UFC title fight against Stipe Miocic in 2019, isn’t exactly easy to finish. Although the odds don’t favor this fight going the distance, the possibility remains, especially if Ngannou can prove to be more dangerous than expected. Either way, expect this to be one-way traffic in favor of Fury. Fury via UD

Brent Brookhouse, staff writer: There’s no real question about who wins here. Outside of the proverbial “puncher’s chance” there’s no real path to victory for Ngannou. And even that chance is diminished somewhat when you remember that Fury has been caught clean and dropped multiple times by Wilder, one of the hardest punchers pound-for-pound in boxing history. Ngannou needs to land a bomb that does more damage to Fury than Wilder, a world champion boxer, was able to. Maybe Ngannou can land that bomb and maybe Fury’s chin has diminished some. But probably not. Also, Fury has tremendous defense and head movement, which will cause further complications for Ngannou connecting with a fight-ending shot. All credit to Ngannou for taking the chance to split from the UFC and chase down a huge payday but it’s hard to see how the end result goes his way. Before the Usyk fight was signed, I’d have expected Fury to “play the game” and drag Ngannou along a bit. There’s simply too much risk for Fury to play around now and possibly derail the massive bout to crown an undisputed champion. Fury in less than four rounds. Fury via TKO3

Shakiel Mahjouri, staff writer: This fight is a money grab, but that doesn’t mean that Ngannou and his team aren’t preparing to shock the world. Ngannou’s power is a cheat code but even giving him a puncher’s chance is generous. The former UFC heavyweight champion makes his boxing debut against arguably the best heavyweight boxer alive. Fury is vastly more experienced and technically sound. Even worse, Fury has just about every physical advantage. The WBC heavyweight champ is taller, longer, younger and wields superior stamina. The chaotic gremlin inside me would love nothing more than an Ngannou knockout, but I see Fury putting him away by Round 6. Fury via TKO6

Brandon Wise, senior editor: The math around this match is pretty obvious. I respect Francis Ngannou and his story to reach this kind of success and riches in his career from where he began. But it does feel like this is checking off a bucket-list item more than Ngannou thinking he has any chance of pulling the upset. He has been way too chummy with Fury all week, seeming to know what the score will be when the fight starts. I expect Fury to keep the distance as much as possible and avoid any serious risk while Ngannou struggles to find him and his incredibly elusive defense. Ngannou will try to land his powerful right hand, but will struggle to land much of anything for as long as this lasts. Given that Fury has his unification with Usyk on the books, expect the “Gypsy King” to try and step on the throttle in the middle rounds and try to end things before some silliness could play out. Fury via TKO8

Who wins Francis Ngannou vs. Tyson Fury, and which prop is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see Peter Kahn’s best bets for Saturday, all from the boxing specialist who has netted his followers a profit of nearly $4,000, and find out.

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