Renowned boxing trainer Teddy Atlas has predicted how a blockbuster crossover showdown between UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou and WBC and The Ring titleholder Tyson Fury would play out.
Tyson Fury’s stock in the boxing world further rose last weekend. For the third time, he met Deontay Wilder inside the ring. The pair first clashed At Los Angeles’ Staples Center in 2018. The bout ended in a controversial split-decision draw, setting the stage for a 2020 rematch. When they ran it back in Las Vegas, it was “The Gypsy King” who left the ring with the belts after securing a seventh-round TKO.
Despite targeting a huge match against his compatriot Anthony Joshua, Fury was forced to grant “The Bronze Bomber” a contractually obliged trilogy fight. On October 9, the heavyweight stars collided inside the T-Mobile Arena. After trading knockdowns, Fury secured the knockout win in the penultimate round. The fight was praised as one of the best in recent memory.
While Fury will likely face the mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte next, should he defeat Otto Wallin later this month, and has the unification challenge of fellow champion Oleksandr Usyk lying in wait, talks of a potential crossover clash still float around “The Gypsy King.”
Earlier this year, Fury suggested he would fight the UFC Heavyweight Champion following bouts against Wilder and Joshua. “The Predator” has also been open to the potential battle of behemoths in the past. With the likes of Conor McGregor, Vitor Belfort, and Anderson Silva all crossing over to the ring in the past, a fight between Fury and Ngannou isn’t that far-fetched.
During a recent appearance on Submission Radio, boxing personality Teddy Atlas gave his take on the potential MMA vs. boxing contest. In his mind, there’s no debate over who would have the edge inside the squared circle.
“I think the making of that is really all based on money. Let’s be honest with ourselves, if it’s not gonna be based on MMA rules, if it’s gonna be with boxing rules, the guy who’s been boxing since he was 12 years old, the guy who’s had 200 amateur fights, the guy who’s trained in a gym for all those years to be a top boxer, he’s gonna have a huge edge, maybe an insurmountable edge to be quite frank.”
Despite the likely uncompetitive nature of the matchup, Atlas believes the demand for it would be there amongst fans and pundits. He thinks that’s because they like to make themselves believe the mixed martial artist, or lesser experienced boxer, has a puncher’s chance, similar to the build-up to Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather.
“We probably fool ourselves because we want to fool ourselves. We want to be entertained, we want to believe it… If you’re gonna support this fight, you wanna believe that the big monster from Cameroon can land a punch and knock the guy cold, even though he’s an MMA fighter and not a boxer… How often does a guy who’s not as developed, not nearly as developed as the top fighter, how many times have we really seen where he’s got a puncher’s edge… not too often.
“It would be a big money fight. Would it be competitive? Most likely not… Fury is a pretty complete package, besides having the advantage of years and years of boxing training.”
Before considering a venture to the ring, Ngannou will have his hands full at UFC 270 when he faces Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Ciryl Gane. The pair, who have trained together at Paris’ MMA factory in the past, will headline the opening pay-per-view of 2022. “Bon Gamin” recently suggested he’ll look to replicate Tyson Fury’s victory over powerhouse Wilder when he takes on the champion.
Should “The Predator” successfully unify the titles, and see off the likely challenges of Stipe Miocic and Jon Jones, perhaps a crossover showdown with “The Gypsy King” will await him soon after.
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