LOS ANGELES: When he faces World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in the boxing ring, mixed martial arts star Francis Ngannou will have heavyweight legend Mike Tyson in his corner on October 28 in Saudi Arabia.
The partnership between Ngannou and Tyson was confirmed in a statement released on Thursday by Riyadh Season — the annual entertainment and sports festival that will kick off this year with the Ngannou-Fury bout.
In the statement, Tyson said: “It’s no secret I back Ngannou 100 percent in this face-off of champions.”
“He has one hard punch, and when it lands, it’s game over. I am looking forward to working with Ngannou and supporting his transition from the Octagon to the boxing ring.”
Ngannou has no professional record in boxing, but the 36-year-old Cameroonian-French fighter built a reputation as a formidable puncher on his way to becoming UFC heavyweight champion, a title he held until leaving in January after an acrimonious relationship with the organisation’s president Dana White.
He has won 17 of his 20 professional UFC fights with 12 knockouts.
Ngannou said in the statement that bringing Tyson in “is one of the best decisions I can make.
“His experience and boxing IQ will be important to honing my technique under his guidance to win this super-fight.”
Fury’s WBC title will not be on the line in the “exhibition” bout, which will take place under the rules of professional boxing.
The British boxer’s last fight was in December, when he stopped compatriot Derek Chisora inside 10 rounds, but talks over an undisputed world title showdown against Oleksandr Usyk broke down earlier this year.