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Fury vs. Ngannou start time, full fight card details

*** Highlights! Ngannou Nearly Sleeps Fury, Loses Razor-Thin Decision ***

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Tyson Fury v Francis Ngannou Press Conference Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

The highly-anticipated boxing debut of Francis Ngannou is upon us, as he is set to challenge the reigning WBC and RING Heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, later tonight (Sat., Oct. 28, 2023) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV_. It will be “The Predator’s” first taste of action since defeating Ciryl Gane in Jan. 2022 to retain the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight strap. As for Fury, he was last seen crushing Derrick Chisora via technical knockout in Dec. 2022 (watch highlights).

What’s Hot:

Boxing In Riyadh: Tyson Fury v Francis Ngannou - Press Conference Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

One of the main reason’s Ngannou opted to leave UFC’s ranks and vacate his 265-pound strap was to pursue a career in professional boxing. Because as well all know, unless the name is Conor McGregor, the promotion will not go out of its way to do a one-off boxing match for a fighter and let him or her return to the Octagon. For Ngannou, not only did he score a big-time, big-money prize fight against the best Heavyweight boxer on the planet, but he also inked a lucrative deal with Professional Fighters League (PFL). So, it’s safe to say “The Predator” is doing just fine without UFC.

On to the task at hand: Ngannou has a monumental challenge in trying to take out Fury, but he also has a huge opportunity to shock the world. Just like we’re not going to pretend Ngannou is a world-class boxer, I am not going to pretend to be as technical with my breakdowns as our very own Andrew Richardson (read his breakdown here), so I am going to give you the meat and potatoes of it all:

Ngannou isn’t a boxer.

Sure, that may seem like the easy way out of going into a full dissection of the fight, but it’s the truth. Yes, we have seen Ngannou knock human heads nearly clean off inside the Octaogn (I’m looking at you, Alistair Overeem), and ends fights as quickly as they begin thanks to his ferocious and aggressive style, coupled with his unmatched knockout power. But, have we ever seen him utilize his jab on a consistent basis? Have we seen him put together three- or four-punch combinations to the head and body? Have we seen his boxing defense ... or go go toe-to-toe with an elite striker for more than five rounds? We haven't. Now, take that challenge and multiply it times 20 when you put him up against the best big man in the boxing game today. It’s a gargantuan feat that not many expect to go Ngannou’s way (myself included).

Fury has taken on all comers in the boxing world, and one by one he has dispatched them all, some of them on more than one occasions. It’s a tale as old as time, boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) striking are two entirely different beasts. Fury — while not chiseled out of stone like Ngannou — has polished his craft for more than 20 years now, and has yet to meet a man who can beat him inside the ring. Can Ngannou get a few licks in? Sure ... as long as Fury allows him to. McGregor had a few shining moments against Mayweather, but we all know if “Money” really wanted to put it on “Notorious,” he would have, even if he was in his later years. Fury is a showman, and I can see him toying with Ngannou to give fans — and the Saudis — their money’s worth. But, one would be a fool to think that if Fury didn’t put his foot on the gas pedal full speed ahead, he’d take out the former UFC champion with ease. While we don’t know how the fight itself will play out, the outcome is all but assured, barring a miraculous one-hitter quitter from Ngannou, because he will not out-box Fury over the course of 10 rounds.

What’s Not:

Boxing In Manchester - KSI v Tommy Fury

When you talk about what the YouTube/social media influencer boxing scene has been doing for the sport, many will say it’s helped it grow, while others will say the circus-like atmosphere of those events has contributed to the downfall of the “Sweet Science.” Exaggerated pay-per-view (PPV) numbers without actual receipts for proof will tell you one thing, but unfortunate situations like this will potentially tell you quite another. Still, there are millions of hardcore and dedicated social media addicts who will flock to the their nearest television sets or handheld devices to see their favorite personality try their hand at boxing ... even if the skill is less than minimal. So, what does this rant have to do with this card? Well, aside from Ngannou vs. Fury, the undercard — which we will discuss further in a bit — isn’t getting much love and attention on social media as say Salt Papi vs Slim Albaher or Astrid Wett vs. Alexia Grace did a few weeks ago. Logan Paul and Dillon Danis — who has no boxing skills whatsoever — will probably do better numbers than the co-main event between Fabio Wardley vs. David Adeleye later tonight will. And both of those men have more boxing skill in their respective pinky fingers than Paul and Danis combined.

And that’s that.

How The Prelims Look:

In a card that features all Heavyweights, the undercard comprises three matchups between hard-hitting big men who love to stand and bang. Among them will be a 10-round showdown between Joseph Parker and Simon Kean. Parker has a ton of experience with a record of 32-2. He has been in with some of the best the game has to offer, including Anthony Joshua, Derrick Chisora and Andy Ruiz Jr., whom he defeated in 2021 to win WBO’s vacant Heavyweight title. He has 22 wins by way of knockout. Standing in his way of another victory is Kean, a Canadian pugilist with an excellent record of 23-1 with an impressive 22 knockouts. He is the current WBC international Heavyweight champion and 11 of his knockouts have come in less than three rounds.

Arslanbek Makhmudov and Junior Anthony Wright is another big man matchup that could provide fireworks. Makhmudov is undefeated (17-0) with 16 knockouts to brag about on his impressive resume. The Russian knockout artist has multiple championship accolades that have made him a feared opponent. That said, he doesn’t have many wins over opponents who most will recognize unless you’re a full-on boxing nut, but he still gets the job done and is on his way to bigger and better fights if he can take out Wright. Makhmudov has wins over former WBC champion Samuel Peter and former world title challenger Mariusz Wach. As for Wright, he is 20-4 and has a huge chance here to score one of the biggest wins of his career. He has great speed for a big man, and he will need that to come into full effect here if he wants to pull off the upset.

Moses Itauma is another undefeated Heavyweight (22-0) with 10 wins by way of knockout. he is only 18 years of age but has already started to make a name for himself in the hurt business and is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the game. He will be battling Istvan Bernard, who sits at 10-0 with nine knockouts. That said, he last competed in Nov. 2021, so there is not telling if the two-year layoff will factor into his performance against a young bull who has been active.

Who Needs A Win Badly:

Straight up, Fury needs a win here above anyone else. That’s because he has dominated the sport for a decade now and is one of the faces of boxing. He has yet to taste defeat, but can you imagine if his first loss comes to a former MMA champion with zero boxing experience? I don’t think Fury is underestimating Ngannou, then again, he did already book his next fight against Oleksandr Usyk in December, so that should tell you something. If Ngannou does the unthinkable, I doubt that fight goes up in smoke, but it could definitely hurt its bottom line.

Interest Level: 7/10

Boxing In Riyadh: Tyson Fury v Francis Ngannou - Press Conference Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

We are all intrigued with this event for the sheer fact that we want to see if Ngannou can actually compete with a professional boxer ... or to see just how fast Fury can dispose of the former UFC Heavyweight champion who was once dubbed “The Baddest Man on the Planet.” As I stated before, if Fury really wants to end the fight as quickly as possible, he can, but I fully expect him to work Ngannou over for a few rounds before putting on the finishing touches in round six (sorry, Iron Mike). Nevertheless, Ngannou gets his shot, gets a fat check and gets to wipe another item off his combat bucket list. He’s winning either way.

In the co-main event, Fabio Wardley will face off against David Adeleye in a 12-round Heavyweight scrap. Wardley is an absolute monster with knockout power, winning 15 of 16 fights via knockout. He is the current WBA intercontinental Heavyweight champion with a mint record (16-0). He was last seen disposing of Michael Polite Coffie via fourth round technical knockout earlier this year, so he loves to get in and get out as fast as he can. He will be battling fellow undefeated British brawler, David Adeleye, who boasts a record of 12-0 record with 11 knockouts to his credit. This one has a high likelihood of ending with another spectacular finish, so don’t look away.

Enjoy the fights!

Full Fury vs. Ngannou Fight Card:

Main Event:

Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou, 10 rounds, Heavyweight

Co-Main Event:

Fabio Wardley vs. David Adeleye, 12 rounds, Heavyweight

Under Card:

Joseph Parker vs. Simon Kean, 10 rounds, Heavyweight
Arslanbek Makhmudov vs. Junior Anthony Wright, 10 rounds, Heavyweight
Moses Itauma vs. Istvan Bernath, 6 rounds, Heavyweight

LIVE! Stream ‘Day of Reckoning’ On PPV

DAY OF RECKONING! “Riyadh Season” continues in full-full swing on Sat., Dec. 23, 2023, as former unified Heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Joshua, looks to get back on track at the expense of dangerous Swedish spoiler, Otto Wallin, while former WBC roost-ruler, Deontay Wilder, locks horns with former WBO kingpin, Joseph Parker, in (quite literally) one of the biggest fight cards in boxing history. The blockbuster high stakes pay-per-view (PPV) extravaganza will stream live from Saudi Arabia on DAZN, as well as, with a special late morning start time at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT with a PPV price tag of just $39.99.

Don’t miss a single second of epic face-punching action!

For much more on this weekend’s Fury vs. Ngannou PPV extravaganza click here.

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