Tyson Fury: Francis Ngannou fight is ’50-50′ but he’d struggle to hit me with ‘a handful of rice’

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Tyson Fury plans to give Francis Ngannou a rude introduction to the world of boxing on Saturday.

Fury, the WBC heavyweight boxing champion, will welcome former UFC heavyweight titleholder Ngannou to his boxing debut in a 10-round bout that airs on pay-per-view.

Although Fury thinks Ngannou is taking on far too large a task for his first non-MMA combat sports venture, he’s not ignorant of the power his opponent brings.

“One hundred percent (he’s out of his element),” Fury told MMA Junkie at Tuesday’s grand arrival ceremony. “This is big-time boxing. So, welcome to big-time boxing. He’s either going to sink or swim. Either way, I’m knocking him out.

“Am I the heavy favorite? Heavy men swinging at each other. Whoever lands first will go down. I think it’s a 50-50. Whoever lands the hardest punch first will win the fight.”

Several undercard fighters for the event spoke to MMA Junkie about advice they would give to Ngannou for this fight, and the prevailing theme is he must pressure Fury, put him in the corner and land strikes in combination.

That idea sounds good, in theory, but Fury said it’s not a strategy that will work against an elusive fighter like himself.

“I’ve never been cornered in my life,” Fury said. “It’s very difficult to hit me, even if you have a handful of rice. I’m like the Matrix, Neo. Stop. I am the one.”

The Fury vs. Ngannou matchup is not the first time an MMA fighter has crossed over into boxing for a marquee bout. Conor McGregor started the trend in 2016, and since then there have been contests such as Nate Diaz vs. Jake Paul and Dillon Danis vs. Logan Paul.

In the latter pair of fights, Diaz and Danis attempted MMA tactics such as submission attempts and takedowns in hopes of frazzling their opponents, but with little success.

Fury said Ngannou better not dare to go down that road if the fight isn’t going his way, because there is going to be zero tolerance for that type of nonsense.

“This is a boxing fight,” Fury said. “And it’s actually a proper boxing, sanctioned fight. So if it starts doing anything stupid, he’ll get chucked out and disqualified. Game over. This is not a wrestling match, or an MMA fight, or a street fight. This is Queensbury rules. The greatest sport in history.”

For more on the matchup, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Fury vs. Ngannou.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie