Tyson Fury hit back at his critics at the launch press conference of his boxing contest with mixed martial arts fighter Francis Ngannou before he hinted at a second bout between the pair in the octagon.
Fury has faced plenty of scrutiny since it was announced in July that he would next step in the ring with former UFC world heavyweight champion Ngannou on October 28 in Saudi Arabia.
While it will be a boxing contest that lasts 10 rounds in Riyadh, Fury’s WBC heavyweight title will not be on the line and this bout occurs amid the backdrop of a potential unification clash with WBA, IBF and WBO-belt holder Oleksandr Usyk falling through.
The Gypsy King was at his charismatic best in London for the fight dubbed ‘Battle of the Baddest’ but aimed at a dig at the media and his detractors who question why he has not been able to arrange a clash for the ages with Usyk.
“I have to take my hat off to Francis for his story, where he has come from, the fight, the grind and the determination to get to where he is. He was a young boy in Africa with a big dream and everybody at home probably laughed at him,” Fury explained.
“But I won’t laugh at anyone because I know man’s struggle. I come from a place where everything is possible. I may not be here today if things had gone differently so I never underestimate anybody. The media say he has no chance.
“I say if I go to the boozer and get in a brawl with a drunken guy, if he hits me, he may knock me out so how am I not going to prepare 100 per cent for an absolute killing machine who is trying to take my brains out? I will give Francis the respect he 100 per cent deserves.
“I need to bring my A-game because there is more on the line than a boxing fight. If I lose to an MMA guy, I will never be able to show my face in public again and I will be ridiculed. People will chuck it at me forever.
“So, if the media want to take it as a joke or whatever, make no mistake I will come into this leaving zero stones unturned. I will come in at my fittest, strongest and at the best I have ever been. If I am not, if I get knocked out, I want people to laugh at me.”
Both of Fury’s promoters, Frank Warren of Queensberry and Top Rank’s Bob Arum, predicted entertainment will be guaranteed next month, but boxing fans will wonder what is next for Britain’s world heavyweight champion.
Talk continues to rumble on over if Fury could fight compatriot Anthony Joshua in 2024 or if a unification clash may happen with Usyk after the Lancashire boxer beat Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora last year in one-sided fights.
Yet, the 35-year-old dropped a big hint there could be a second tale between himself and Ngannou, who is preparing for his boxing debut.
Fury insisted: “I think I could beat you in the cage. I would kick your a*** in the cage, no problem. One hundred per cent. Personally, I will beat you in the boxing ring and then kick your a*** in the cage.”
This fight will kick off Riyadh season in Saudi Arabia and Fury provided a chilling prophecy of what the future could hold in store for the Middle East country, which is repeatedly criticised by anti-human rights groups and accused of sportswashing.
He added: “It is a very special event for me and a special time in sports where a powerhouse like Saudi Arabia are coming in taking over the game. They are taking over football, taking over boxing, I think within five to 10 years they will be the powerhouse of all sports. All the big sporting events will be in Saudi Arabia somewhere.”
Ngannou will realise a dream by fighting as a professional boxer for the first time and has help from Mike Tyson, who will be in his corner.
Boasting a record of 12 knock-outs in his 17 UFC contests, the 37-year-old from Cameroon promised if his punch lands, it will knock out Fury.
“I ask myself what will happen at the moment that guy hits the floor and doesn’t get up? Does that make me best boxer in the world? If you take out number one, it makes you number one,” Ngannou pondered.
“If it does land, goodnight. Lights off. What do you think will happen? This is a heavyweight fight and that is what is very exciting about heavyweight fights.
“We know everybody in the heavyweight division can knock each other out. I am going in there to fight. To hit and not get hit. That is the rules of boxing and I am very aware of that.”
The best videos delivered daily
Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox