Is Fury’s sudden pursuit of Chisora the end of a potential crossover bout with Ngannou?

There was an outside chance that 2022 was going to be the year where the most explosive crossover fight in combat sports history was to take place. UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou and current boxing WBC Champion Tyson Fury had both hinted at a potential match-up as early as 2022. However, this once highly anticipated fight looks to be off, and potentially for good now. Here’s why.

To start with, Fury is set to make a sensational return to the ring in a bid to begin warming up for a unification fight with the winner of the Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk match. Of course, gamblers who bet on boxing will tell you in no uncertain terms that Usyk will successfully defend the belts he took off Joshua in September 2021.

This is primarily down to the fact that the Joshua v Usyk odds currently price the Ukrainian at a meager -200 to win the bout in the Middle East. So, how does this affect Fury and Ngannou? 

Simply put, Fury is determined to stay active whilst he waits for a deal to be finalized with the boxer who manages to win in Jeddah. In addition to that, these boxing negotiations tend to be drawn out at the best of times, but when a unification fight for the heavyweight championship of the world is on the line, there’s often no hurry to rush proceedings with both parties only willing to commit once all their demands are met. 

Essentially, this means that Fury could be in for a long wait before he makes his ring walk against either Joshua or Usyk, which is why he has decided to pursue a fight with Derek Chisora in the meantime. In reality, squaring up to Chisora makes complete sense and will be the ideal tune-up fight for Fury who will be supremely confident that he can beat the 38-year-old for the third time in his career. 

Ultimately, this means that Ngannou will have to return to the Octagon to continue his career instead of putting pen to paper on a lucrative crossover deal with Fury. Furthermore, it’s important to keep in mind that the Cameroonian MMA star will be 36 in September 2022 which, again, indicates that time is fast running out to make an eye-catching fight with Fury happen.

The problem for the UFC’s current heavyweight champion is that Fury now looks to be booked up for the entirety of 2023 owing to the fact that he is set to go toe-to-toe with Chisora before taking on the biggest assignment of his career in a unification fight. In essence, this means that there won’t be any time for an exhibition showdown with Ngannou over the next 18 months, which then begs the question, how relevant will this idea be when both fighters have a clear schedule again?

The answer is that it will rely on both Ngannou and Fury going unbeaten over the next year and a half which isn’t an improbable equation, but in heavyweight fighting terms, 18 months may as well be a lifetime. With this in mind, it does feel as if these two heavyweight titans will ultimately be unable to make this potentially spectacular crossover happen.

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