Ngannou’s release from the UFC has understandably caused fans to debate where his future in combat sports lies, and a poll posted by journalist Ariel Helwani shows that a significant number believe it is within boxing.
Ngannou has also not given fans any reason to doubt this, having previously proposed to fight WBC heavyweight champion Fury in a “hybrid fight” after he beat fellow British fighter Dillian Whyte in April 2022.
“I’m the boxing heavyweight champion, he’s the UFC heavyweight champion,” Fury said on the night. “He’s in great shape, look at the muscles on him.”
“We’re going to find out who is the baddest motherf***** on the planet,” Ngannou added.
And although that fight failed to materialise, Ngannou spoke about wanting to compete in the ring as well as the Octagon last September.
“My desire of boxing doesn’t depend on Tyson Fury,” Ngannou said. So whether he’s retired or not, I’m still going to do that.”
It might be easier now for Ngannou to enter boxing now that he is free of his UFC contractual obligations, and due to the past, it is only natural that fans start to wonder what would happen if Ngannou and Fury fought each other later down the line.
Should that fight come about, though, Ngannou has already received tips on how to get to Fury from someone else who also has held the mantle of the scariest fighter on the planet. Mike Tyson.
After Fury and Ngannou shared the ring in April last year, footage emerged of Tyson giving Ngannou boxing tips in June.
Video: Mike Tyson tells Ngannou how to box Tyson Fury
Since Ngannou has left the UFC, that footage has re-emerged, with Tyson giving the then-UFC champion tips on how to beat Fury.
“So Fury. He punches long,” Tyson says. “So when he punches long, you’ve got those short punches inside. Hit him around [the body]. Power punches to the body.”
Tyson proceeds to demonstrate what he means, and even though he is now 56 years old, he is still absolutely terrifying.
What’s in store for heavyweight boxing in 2023?
Although Ngannou now has the blueprint, he might have to wait his turn as heavyweight boxing prepares itself for one of its biggest years to date.
Ngannou is sure to be further down Fury’s list of ambitions, with a fight against Oleksandr Usyk and his ambitions of becoming undisputed heavyweight champion taking precedence.
Even if he wins that fight, there are likely to be obligations to fight the winner of Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr, also scheduled to take place this year.
Should both men have some free time in their calendars, though, there is no reason why a fight between Ngannou and Fury can’t happen, adding to what is already a stacked year for heavyweight boxing.
Story by Luke Collins,Give me Sports