10-round exhibition from Saudi Arabia
Francis has lost three times in the octagon
Fury is the unbeaten heavyweight champion
Tyson Fury v Francis Ngannou
TNT Sports Box Office
The highlight of this weekend's boxing comes from Saudi Arabia, and it's another cross-over bout that has divided opinion. World heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury faces former world heavyweight MMA champion Francis Ngannou in Riyadh.
It is little more than a 10-round exhibition and a chance for both Fury and Ngannou to cash in on their reputations. Some fight fans love the idea of another boxing v MMA clash, similar to Floyd Mayweather's stoppage win over Conor McGregor. Others consider it another slap in the face to fans who would much rather see Fury face Anthony Joshua or Oleksandr Usyk.
Regardless of your opinion on Fury v Ngannou, it'll be incredibly popular, and you know, when Tyson's involved entertainment is guaranteed. The fight is going ahead; both men will make millions, and fans will enjoy the show. You can wager on the result to add some extra heat to the occasion.
Fury must focus
Fury teased this fight some time ago, and fans first heard mention of a contest with Ngannou following Tyson's stunning knockout win over Dillian Whyte in London. Many boxing enthusiasts thought it was little more than hot air from the champion aimed at pushing through a unification bout with Usyk. It appears to have worked, and if things go according to plan, Tyson could end the year with two massive wins and monumental paydays.
Recent media reports suggest Fury v Usyk is agreed for later this year, with a December date back in Saudi Arabia or the United States penciled into the diary. That's a fight-of-our-generation contender that could give fans something boxing has missed for too long - a unified and recognised world champion. Tyson must ignore the hype for a few more days and give this exhibition with Francis his full attention.
The world heavyweight boxing champion shares a ring with a UFC legend who carries explosive power. It promises to be a thriller that could ignite at any minute. Fury and Ngannou hold power needed to end things with one punch, but Tyson's the boxer and favourite to win. Back Fury to win at 1.071/14 or play the specials, backing a KO/TKO at 1.261/4 or the points win at 6.611/2.
Nothing to lose
Ngannou is a major attraction in the MMA world and won the UFC title before exiting the promotion earlier this year. The African prizefighter caused a stir when retiring from the UFC, with critics suggesting he'd struggle to make cash without the help of Dana White and his expert team of promoters. But here we are a few months later, and Francis is putting the final touches to his preparation for a boxing bout against the WBC champion. He's all set to rake in a multi-million-pound cheque for his efforts.
MMA fanatics know Francis as one of the strongest and most formidable heavyweights the UFC has ever produced. His fight card details 17 wins from 20 bouts, with a dozen of those victories coming by knockout. Unlike some others on the heavyweight MMA scene, Francis is a polished striker, using the raw power in both hands to finish opponents early. He has just three defeats on his card, with the most recent coming against Derrick Lewis in 2018 in Las Vegas on points. It's interesting to learn all three of his losses have been on the scorecards.
Francis is a hard-hitting fighter but with boxing skills that are average at best. He's not going to out-box Fury and knows his best chance is landing a power shot early in the contest and causing an upset with a knockout. You can back Francis to win by any method at 14.5 or play the specials, taking a KO/TKO at 1514/1 or an unlikely points victory which nets backers 6564/1.
Circus is in town
The fight is happening, whether boxing fans like it or not, and if you plan to watch the show, you may as well make a prediction and gamble on the result. If nothing else, it'll give you something meaningful to cheer while the circus is in town. I don't see the harm in Team Fury and Team Ngannou earning crazy cash for moving around the ring and landing a few bombs.
This fixture is about as interesting as Fury facing Whyte or Chisora again. It's about as worthwhile as the champ fighting most from the top 10 outside AJ and Usyk, so why not?
Fury towers over 6ft 4inch Ngannou and has been sparring with boxers of a similar size, including Joe Parker. He won't be in the best shape of his life, but Tyson will know enough to teach Francis a lesson during the opening rounds before putting his foot on the accelerator and finishing things in the mid-section of the contest.
Back Fury to score a convincing stoppage win in the second half of the contest once Ngannou has run his race and stopping him becomes unavoidable.