Francis Ngannou says having Mike Tyson in camp is helping him mentally and physically prepare for his bout with Tyson Fury. While, the Gypsy King refuses to believe Iron Mike’s guidance will help the MMA star win.
Ngannou will face Fury in a highly anticipated crossover bout that will take place in Saudi Arabia, as part of Riyadh Season – the annual entertainment and sports festival – next month.
It will be the first time Ngannou has ever competed in a sanctioned boxing bout but he is confident he can cause an upset against the WBC heavyweight champion thanks to Tyson’s help.
Speaking exclusively to Mail Sport, Ngannou said: ‘Having Mike Tyson present just makes you realise what is happening. You know that you have a fight and obviously you are serious about it but it seems like there is something missing.
‘You’re like okay I have a fight but what else do I need. Then you have Mike Tyson and he’s basically like the biggest boxing figure. It makes me think, oh man, this is serious, very very serious. It doesn’t get more serious than this.
Francis Ngannou (above) says having Mike Tyson in camp is helping him mentally and physically prepare for his bout with Tyson Fury
Ngannou (right) will go toe-to-toe with Fury (left) in Saudi Arabia on October 28, 2023
The Gypsy King refuses to believe Iron Mike can coach the MMA star to victory
‘That alone brings you a lot of motivation. Even when you’re tired, even when you’re done for the day, I’m like man one more. I want to do one more. I’m like I just want to be like that man. So all that stuff, has helped me mentally already.
‘Then of course, there is the technical aspect that he is bringing too. We all know how technical Mike Tyson was so obviously having his tips and hearing from him is very helpful for me. I won’t have his boxing style but I can definitely learn a lot from him.’
Ngannou isn’t the only one who admires Tyson. The Gypsy King was named after Iron Mike – with John Fury explaining how he wanted his son to be named after his boxing idol.
Tyson and Fury first met in 2016. The Gypsy King spoke about their first encounter – claiming Tyson was a great guy before revealing how they went on to open up to each other about their difficulties.
It’s clear that Fury has a huge amount of respect for the former undisputed champion. But, he refuses to believe that Iron Mike’s presence will be enough to help Ngannou win their bout next month.
Speaking exclusively to Mail Sport about Tyson, Fury said: ‘Mike Tyson is a great guy. He is a living legend in sport. He is a living legend in boxing. He’s got a lot of knowledge on boxing, I think he will teach Francis a lot.
‘But, I don’t it would matter who trained Ngannou for this fight. He’s got to fight Tyson Fury and I’m not an easy opponent for anybody no matter who is training you.
‘So yeah, everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the face. That’s exactly what’s going to happen to Ngannou when I fight him. He’s going to have this big plan and then he’s going to get punched in the face and it’s going to go all out the window.’
John Fury (above) named his son Tyson Fury after Mike Tyson as he was his boxing idol
Tyson Fury first met Mike Tyson in 2016 and they opened up to each other on their difficulties
The Gypsy King continued to speak about the fact Tyson was coaching the former UFC heavyweight champion for their Saudi Arabia bout during last week’s official press conference.
Fury joked: ‘It’s actually hurtful. I’m about to cry my eyes out. If I knew it was personal and not business, I would take it seriously. But this is strictly business. Mike Tyson is doing a job for Francis. He’s a boxing trainer now, fair play to him.
‘It’s surreal for me. Imagine as a baby you’re named after Mike Tyson. Then that baby goes on to become world heavyweight champion. Then, that heavyweight champion goes and fights somebody else and the guy you’re named after is training the guy.’
Despite being in opposite corner for the upcoming fight, Tyson and Fury maintain a strong relationship. Tyson has been complimentary of Fury in the past – claiming the Gypsy King will be the heavyweight champion for a ‘long time’.
He previously said: ‘Tyson Fury proved over and over again that he’s the best. Tyson Fury is the champ, the reigning champ and is gonna be the champ for a long time, if he chooses to be, unless we get some new guy up.
‘I always root for Tyson Fury because he was named after me,’ Iron Mike said on the Boxing Legend’s podcast. ‘That’s the natural thing to do, right? I’m biased towards him.’
However, since taking on Ngannou, Tyson has been much reserved when it comes to Fury. He claims the heavyweight bout in Saudi Arabia will be ‘much closer’ than people think.
Speaking about Ngannou, Tyson said: ‘He’s had many professional fights, he’s just never experienced a professional boxing match. Working with him yesterday, he has the aptitude and I see a good future in his life. It’s not going to be as one-sided as people think it is.
We are going to work him and exert everything he has for this particular match, because he is going to have to do that. And I definitely believe that it’s going to be a tougher fight than everyone thinks.’
Tyson Fury believes he is too tough of an opponent for Ngannou despite who is coaching him