The Clash of Two Worlds: Francis Ngannou vs. Tyson Fury

Francis Ngannou vs. Tyson Fury. The first left Cameroon for France, pursuing the ideal of a life as a professional boxer. Having gone from homeless person on the streets of Paris to UFC champion, he will now fight one of the best heavyweight pugilists in history in the sport that has always made him dream.

The second, a world champion, undefeated in 34 fights, named after the legend Mike Tyson. The same Mike Tyson who trains Ngannou for the October 28 duel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The story is beautiful, magnificent even. It seems tailor-made for a novel. But is it made for sport?

“Imagine that the badminton world champion, without ever having played a professional tennis match, went to challenge Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros,” summarizes Jean-Charles Barès. The combat sports commentator for Eurosport is slightly annoyed by this duel. He himself practiced boxing for a few years, before taking up MMA in his spare time. And he assures him: “We can’t go from one sport to another like that, facing the best in the world.” Tyson Fury did not say anything else on Friday, using a similar metaphor: “It will be like a table tennis champion facing Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.”

Fury ⚔ Ngannou, the face-to-face

On the other hand, no one can deny the raw strength of Francis Ngannou. The Cameroonian has in his fists one of the most phenomenal strike forces in the world, if not the most violent. In 2017, he measured the power of his fists at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas on a machine capable of measuring the impact of punches received. Clear result: the “PowerKube” had never suffered such an impact.

“The only uncertainty is that we are among the heavyweights and that Ngannou has an incredible punch, mentions Jean-Charles Barès all the same. (…) This is what makes this little salty. fight, this little uncertainty is going to make a lot of people watch it.”

Surpass a lifetime of boxing in just a few months

Imad is a boxing trainer adapted to MMA and works at the US Metro, a Parisian gym where Morgan Charrière trains in particular. In his eyes, Ngannou is “a force of nature”. In any case, enough to “compensate for possible technical shortcomings”. One problem remains, the Cameroonian cut his teeth with boxing adapted to MMA, only passing through the noble art in his young years, with very precarious means.

“If I had to place Ngannou’s English boxing, I would say that it is still too premature, supports the coach. He has MMA reflexes and will never have the same technique as a boxer. For example, he learned to send a direct with the front arm and reposition his hands at chest height to potentially defend in the event of an opponent’s wrestling attack. Logic in a cage, heresy in a ring, where 80% of blows are delivered to the face.

Besides Mike Tyson, Francis Ngannou’s coaches – Dewey Cooper, “striking” trainer of many MMA stars, and John M’Buma, former member of the French boxing team – have real work to do on the defense of their foal. “The main problem with MMA fighters is their defensive reflexes,” insists Imad. “They have a little wandering hands, because attacks can land on the legs, chest, etc.… I would have started everything from the beginning with him so that he has the right reflexes. Because what he is getting rid of is not that simple.”

Another world

On the offensive side, there are a little less concern, however. Certainly, boxing adapted to MMA is limited to combinations of two, three or even four blows maximum. Because with mittens instead of big gloves and attacks possibly targeting each level of the body, excessive sequences of blows expose the person who carries them out. On the other hand, all great MMA fighters have an offensive base.

“We see videos on social networks where Francis’ boxing is not perfect, analyzes Imad. A lot of details are missing. However, he can do the trick for the fight with simple attacks, direct front arm shots. and the rear arm”.

However, it is not certain that Ngannou will be able to hit the world champion with basic sequences. In a ring, Fury moves in his garden. We have already seen him, leaning against the ropes, dodging combinations of blows with lightness, not hampered by his 120 kilos.

Especially since English boxing represents a sort of new space-time for the former MMA fighter. Defending with your back to the grid of an octagon and the ropes of a ring are two different things. Above all, it is much easier to find yourself trapped under the blows of your opponent in a corner, unlike the more circular cage.

The surface also differs. In the UFC octagon, Francis Ngannou chased his opponents over approximately 50m2, when a ring is 37.5m2. A significant variable facing an opponent like Fury, who is the same height as Lebron James (2.06m) and benefits from an extension of the size of Rudy Gobert (2.16m).

126 kg for Fury, 123.4 kg for Ngannou: their weigh-in on video

Remember Mayweather

So much new information to integrate into his fighter software that he will have to keep in mind for 12 three-minute rounds. Much more than the usual 3×5 minutes (or 5×5 in a fight for a belt) in professional MMA. “The physical condition is different in terms of endurance, underlines the US Metro coach. In boxing, we only strike with the fists. Ngannou will draw on his energy resources, his arms, his shoulders… Fury has always does that, he manages that effort.”

To illustrate his point, Imad cites the example of the boxing fight between undefeated superstar boxer Floyd Mayweather and MMA glory Conor McGregor in 2017, in August 2017. “Money” Mayweather came out of retirement to win in the eighth round by referee stoppage, although he had not inflicted a KO for six years. “McGregor got tired quickly, yet he was prepared, he was coming out of big MMA fights,” recalls Imad.

More critically, Jean-Charles Barès remembers the opposition as a boxing masterclass: “From a purely sporting point of view, Mayweather played with him when he was 41 years old.” The commentator fears observing the same scenario this Saturday. “I think it’s going to be a demonstration, he thinks. A somewhat difficult fight, with a Ngannou whose technical limits will come to light. Almost all weights “Heavyweights of the world would appear limited against Fury. It would take a huge lack of preparation on the part of Tyson Fury, who would have prepared at the local KFC, to have a surprise,” he quips to conclude.

“I definitely intend to make my punch useful,” Nganniu told Tyson Fury at the press conference.

Credit: Getty Images

In a press conference, as a response, the former UFC champion obviously addressed the subject: “I heard people say I had a big punch, but if you can’t hit someone one, your punch is useless. I really intend to make my punch useful.”

Fury also had a word for those convinced that a single blow from his opponent would be enough to put him down: “My jaw is not a piece of paper that you touch and it’s over. You will see that I’m hard”. For skeptics, Jean-Charles Barès recalls the triple confrontation between Fury and Deontay Wilder, one of the biggest punchers in boxing history, from which the British emerged victorious twice for a draw.

2023-10-27 21:36:00
#Tyson #Fury #Francis #Ngannou #chance #boxing


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