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Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou: Is it really a game changer or just another gimmick?

Tyson Fury's latest fight announcement has received mixed reactions from fans and pundits.

Tyson Fury's next outing will be against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in a major crossover contest on October 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

Both combatants are widely thought of as the best heavyweights in their fields but while mixed martial artist Ngannou is renowned as a fearsome puncher, he is ultimately stepping into Fury's world.
Here, we look at some of the talking points arising from a bout that has excited some, bemused many others and has been dubbed a clash to determine the 'baddest man on the planet'.

Was this announcement expected?

The pair have traded barbs on social media for many months so it was not a total surprise, but it is underwhelming to a lot of boxing fans.
Fury, the WBC champion, has seen negotiations for fights against WBA, IBF and WBO titlist Oleksandr Usyk and British rival Anthony Joshua collapse.
An undisputed world title showdown against Usyk falling by the wayside is especially disappointing for the sport with each fighter blaming the other for talks breaking down.
With Usyk and Joshua now tied up, Fury's team have argued he was out of credible challengers so in steps Ngannou, who has risen to the top of mixed martial arts but never boxed professionally.

Surely there was someone more capable for Fury?

Usyk will defend his world titles against mandatory challenger and Fury's promotional stablemate Daniel Dubois while Joshua has elected for a rematch against London rival Dillian Whyte next month.
Fury was also linked with former world champion Andy Ruiz Jr, who seems to be leaning towards a fight against Deontay Wilder.
Fury taking on a novice will grate with traditionalists but the WBC granted the self-styled Gypsy King permission to fight Ngannou without the title being at stake because there is "no official challenger".

Is this a gimmick?

While Fury will not be defending his world title, his team have insisted this is not an exhibition.
There will be three ringside judges present and the 10-point must system - the scoring criteria used in all of professional boxing - is being implemented.
It remains unclear how many rounds are scheduled and if this will count towards Fury's professional record.
Fury's co-promoter Frank Warren called this a 'game changer' but MMA stars crossing over into boxing has been increasingly prevalent since Conor McGregor faced Floyd Mayweather in a lucrative battle.

What is Ngannou's story?

Ngannou left extreme poverty in his native Cameroon, where he worked in a sand quarry from the age of 10, to pursue a boxing career in Europe.
He ended up homeless in Paris in his mid-20s but his potential was recognised in a gym and he was persuaded to switch his focus to MMA, rising through the ranks to become top dog in the UFC.
Ngannou was stripped of his title in January amid an acrimonious departure from the UFC and has signed with the Professional Fighters League on an MMA deal only.
This has opened the avenue for Ngannou to pursue his first true passion.

What chance does Ngannou have?

MMA fighters have not transitioned well to boxing, with McGregor losing to Mayweather in 2017 while Ben Askren, Tyron Woodley and Anderson Silva have been beaten by YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul.
Going in Ngannou's favour is his devastating power - he has highlight-reel knockouts few others can match - but the 36-year-old will be wearing bigger gloves against Fury.
The Briton knows how to handle formidable punchers having beaten Wilder twice and has promised to stand toe-to-toe with Ngannou.
This may open the door fractionally for Ngannou but in any situation he is a massive underdog. Fury is superb technically, can adapt to any situation and has shown he possesses frightening power himself.

What next for Fury, assuming he wins?

A frequent criticism of boxing is it is hard to distinguish who is the best fighter in a weight category given there are four major world titles although the sport has recently got its act together.
There have been several undisputed world title fights in the past couple of years but the heavyweight division is the anomaly.
Irrespective of who is to blame, this does not reflect well on anybody. Fury, who has attracted the most criticism, argues he is the greatest of this era but fights against Derek Chisora and Ngannou do not pass the muster. No ifs or buts for Fury, Usyk must be next.
READ MORE: Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou superfight confirmed for October

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