By Tamara Prenn For Mailonline
Published: | Updated:
Follow Mail Sport’s live blog for updates as Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou face the media in Saudi Arabia ahead of their titanic boxing clash.
Cristiano Ronaldo has gifted Francis Ngannou a watch worth £87,000 ahead of the UFC legend’s cross-over bout with Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia this weekend.
Ngannou smiled as he showed off the Jacob and Co watch, which came in a CR7 stylised case.
He was presented with the gift, from the limited edition line called ‘Heart of Ronaldo’, outside a Jacob and Co outlet.
Things got heated between Wardley and Adeleye…
Two down, one to go
The men leave the stage, and we’ll have just a little longer to wait until the Gypsy King meets the Predator.
Predictions for Saturday?
‘I’m going home with four belts,’ Adeleye says defiantly. ‘Wardley’s getting knocked out.’
‘Fabio Wardley win. I’m shipping those belts off to Ipswich’. Wardley finishes coolly.
The pair eyeball one another in the face-off, with Warren looking a little wary inbetween them.
But there’s no argy-bargy this time, with both men concealing a smirk as they turn to face the crowd.
Wardley devotes special time to grabbing his Ipswich Town badge.
Temperatures are rising
Wardley mocks Adeleye saying ‘chill out, I brought you out here. Enjoy yourself’.
The pair keep scrapping until Adeleye brings up that Wardley had wavered over a rematch clause.
‘You’re a one-dimensional fighter, like I said,’ Adeleye finishes. ‘Just throwing things’.
Adeleye ribs Wardley’s boxing IQ
‘He’s not an intelligent man. He’s got a big head, but it’s empty in there’, Adeleye scoffs.
Wardley is relaxed, showing off the size of his head. No denial here. But he calls Adeleye a marshmallow.
Tension grows as Adeleye repeatedly calls him ‘soft’ and Wardley won’t take it.
But Adeleye doubles down – saying that he’s a different person off camera.
Wardley doesn’t think ‘he’s the toughest opponent he’s face’
‘The proof is in the pudding,’ Wardley adds, as he reels off a list of unimpressive attributes of Adeleye.
Adeleye, in response, says that Wardley ‘talks like he’s a seasoned pro.
‘The man’s had 16 fights. I don’t take him in’.
Adeleye adds: ‘me and my team are harder than him’ – after Wardley’s comment that his opponent is ‘soft’.
Wardley: ‘When he was drowning he didn’t know what to do!’
The metaphor continues, as Adeley retorts that it’s Wardley who has ‘drowned’ in the past.
Needless to say, we’ll be dealing with oceans on Saturday, if the talk is to be believed.
Adeleye’s thoughts on Wardley?
‘He’s just not the same as me. I see his mannerisms, how he carries himself. We’re not the same’.
When asked if he can deal with the ‘deep waters’ of facing Wardley: ‘thank God I can swim’.
Wardley speaks on the abortive press conference
Wardley says it didn’t make him lose his cool, but made him assess behaviour.
‘That’s not the way you’re meant to behave’, he says of Adeleye’s ‘shove’ in their last meeting.
‘He’s not faced anyone of any worth, of any level,’ Wardley continues.
‘There’s nothing I’ve seen in any fight that makes me think (he’s up to the challenge)’.
Adeleye: ‘Do I look nervous?’
‘I’ve got two at the moment, and I’m looking forward to leaving here with four,’ Wardley smiles.
Adeleye is asked for his thoughts on Wardley’s belief that he gets ‘nervous’.
‘Do I look it?’ He leans forward. ‘I look good under the lights’.
Adeleye comes out swinging
Adeleye’s dress sense gets a quick applause before he dives into the good stuff.
‘On Saturday night I get to win four belts,’ he brags. ‘I’d like to say thank you to the King of Saudi Arabia’.
‘The winner is going to be seen by a massive audience’
Warren adds that this is an excellent opportunity for both fighters.
Warren: ‘This event has blown me away’
They’re scrapping over three titles on Saturday – but their earlier press conference turned to chaos when Adeleye shoved Wardley, forcing his opponent’s swift exit.
First to speak is Frank Warren, who showers praise on the organisers of Saturday’s event.
‘I think it’ll go down in history, as far as we’re concerned.’ He crows. ‘Who’d have ever thought we’d have a British Commonwealth title fight in Saudi Arabia.’
‘This is a cracking fight. There’s been a bit of needle, but that’s been sorted out.
‘These guys both want it’.
Here they come!
Fabio Wardley and David Adeleye, ahead of their chief support bout. Adeleye is wearing a full Saudi thobe and gutra headress.
Wardley is somewhat more casually dressed, in an Ipswich Town jersey.
Tyson Fury’s remarkable ability to rise up from the canvas after suffering a devastating knockdown by Deontay Wilder in their 2018 bout left the boxing world in awe.
Many thought the Gypsy King was down and out. But somehow, someway, Fury awoke and found the reserves to clamber back to his feet just in time to beat the count.
Five years have passed since that iconic moment, but everyone still wonders how the Gypsy King managed to awaken from his slumber. So, Mail Sport sat down with Fury to discuss THAT moment.
First press conference of three done
Next up, we’ll hear from heavyweights Fabio Wardley and David Adeleye before their all-British clash.
Carlos Takam and Martin Bakole pick their Fury-Ngannou sides
‘I am confidence Ngannou is going to win. I’ve never seen Francis train like that. He’s been really serious in his training. I know he’s going to win the fight,’ says Takam, who has been training alongside the MMA champion.
‘How? You’re going to see.’
But Bakole is team Tyson. ‘(Francis) makes a big mistake of jumping in the right to face the Gypsy King.
‘I think Tyson will stop him before 6 or 7 rounds,’ he adds. ‘But big respect to everything Francis has done in MMA’.
Bakole is confident he has ‘everything’
‘Saying punishment is too hard, but whether it’s knockout or by points,’ Martin Bakole is going to crush Carlos Takam.
‘You told me no-one wanted to fight Bakole, but I thought “Oh”. Let’s play, brother’.
Bakole also refers to Takam as his ‘brother’, before shouting out ‘big brother’ Mike Tyson.
‘I’m ready for anything,’ Bakole adds. ‘This is my time, big brother. I know you’ve got more experience, but I’m ready for Saturday’.
Parker on Kean: ‘I’m just going to go in there and punch his face’
Parker has been in Fury’s training camp, and says ‘he’s trained the house down’ to face Kean.
‘We’ve done absolutely everything we can to be prepared for this challenge’.
‘Tyson Fury is on fire. He always turns up on fight week. There’s nothing more we can do,’ Parker says, with quiet confidence about his camp-mate’s hopes against Ngannou.
Parker is the most forthwright of the reticent and respectful so far, saying that he’s looking forward to ‘smashing’ his opponent.
Kean: ‘I’m not going to show my game plan on TV’
Simon Kean says ‘of course’ Joseph Parker wants to knock him out – who wouldn’t?
He takes a civil moment to thank his opponent for the opportunity to step into the ring with him on Saturday.
‘I watched him a lot in 2016 when he was a world champion. He’s a great fighter, he’s got lots of skills – he’s got power, he’s got everything’.
But he’s secretive over exactly how he’s going to overcome Parker in two days time.
Makhumudov: ‘I’d like to fight with the top guys’
‘This guy, good defence, fast guy,’ Makhmudov says reverently. ‘A fight at this event is already a big step-up for a fighter’.
But the Russian fighter stays tight-lipped, and modest, on his prospects on Saturday. ‘I should just do my best job.’
He also shouts out Mike Tyson as an inspiration, and hails him with ‘as-salaam-alaikum’.
Wright will ‘keeping coming’ against Makhmudov
Makhmudov is fighting Junior Anthony Wright in a late match-up, but he seems more than prepared.
‘Every time I look at him, my neck starts hurting because he’s so damn tall!’ The American jokes, introducing some levity.
Moses Itauma is waiting to ‘do it all under the bright lights’
The former amateur fighter is looking to ‘replicate’ his previous successes as a professional – and he has some major backing.
‘I love you!’ calls out Mike Tyson from the audience.
Jack McGann: ‘I’ve proved myself’
The former MMA star says ‘it’s all going the right way’ – ‘if I couldn’t box, I must be the luckiest man on the planet’.
McGann says he’s looking forward to ‘a tough fight with a legend’s son’.
As another MMA fighter, he’s asked for his thoughts on Fury-Ngannou: ‘I think it’s going to be a better fight than most people expect’ – but concedes that Fury is the toughest opposition going.
First up, Robert Duran Jr
The fighter, who will face Jack McGann, says ‘most definitely’ he is trained to be a fighter.
‘Before the fight is over, my hand will be raised’, says the son of former professional boxer Roberto Duran.
We’re live from Riyadh
But first there are the dreaded technical difficulties marring the stream.
The fighters should be taking to the stage soon. First, the press conference host thanks the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed bin Salman, before running through the sponsors.
Less than 10 minutes to go
… until we see some action in Riyadh. Don’t go anywhere!
Tyson Fury says Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom stable has ‘gone down the toilet’ and claims the only time they can get publicity is when they talk about a Battle of Britain clash between him and Anthony Joshua.
Hearn recently came out and said the Gypsy King would make over £100million for going toe-to-toe with AJ next year. However, Fury has questioned where the 44-year-old promoter has plucked that number from.
Fury told Mail Sport that Matchroom’s ‘golden goose, AJ, is done’. He joked that the ‘fox had got in the pen and killed it’ after Joshua lost back-to-back fights against Oleksandr Usyk.
Fury v Ngannou: the card in full
As well as the title fight, Saturday night in Riyadh will see a number of other high-profile bouts.
Undefeated British fighters Fabio Wardley and David Adeleye are set to go toe-to-toe just before Fury faces off with Ngannou.
Joseph Parker will square off with Simon Kean, and Martin Bakole meets Carlos Takam.
Arslanbek Makhmudov will meet Junior Anthony Wright in a bid to make it 18-0.
Jack McGann is set to fight Robert Duran Jnr, and Moses Itauma will fight Istvan Bernath.
Francis Ngannou has warned Tyson Fury not to try any ‘tricky s***’ when they meet in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night – after he was accused by Deontay Wilder of tampering with his gloves in their bout.
Ngannou and Fury will stage the ‘Battle of the Baddest’ in Riyadh this weekend in a highly-anticipated crossover showdown that will see the former UFC star fight in his first boxing event – and he will be a major underdog against the world champion.
Ahead of the fight, the Cameroonian brought up accusations aimed at Fury from Deontay Wilder claiming he used weighted gloves when they fought in 2018 and 2020. The American alleged that it was a major factor in his shock stoppage defeat that left him bleeding from the ear.
Tyson Fury has banned talkSPORT from covering all of his fights after the broadcaster suggested the Gypsy King had ducked a unification bout with Oleksandr Usyk earlier this year.
Fury is set to face Francis Ngannou this weekend in Saudi Arabia in a showdown being dubbed as the ‘Battle of the Baddest’.
The heavyweight world champion confirmed he would face the former UFC star in July.
The first episode of Mail Sport’s brand-spanking-new boxing podcast launched this week, and features interviews with Tyson Fury, Francis Ngannou, and Frank Warren.
Hosted by Mail Sport’s Charlotte Daly and Alex McCarthy, you can listen to the episodee by clicking HERE.
‘The Gypsy King’ comes into the bout off the back of a 10th round TKO victory against Derek Chisora last December.
The self-titled Gypsy King will be back in the ring for his first fight of the year when he takes on Ngannou in Saudi Arabia this weekend where he hopes to maintain his unbeaten record.
It wouldn’t have been a successful press event in the eyes of Tyson Fury if he didn’t steal the show and overshadow his opponent Francis Ngannou.
The Gypsy King was escorted to the ring by the 11-man team that helped him behind the scenes in the build-up to this weekend’s fight.
He booped his head to the sound of the drum and base blaring out of the speakers and called for the crowd to hype him up as he approached the ropes.
Frank Warren has lifted the lid on Tyson Fury’s negotiations with Oleksandr Usyk after their fight was finally signed – hitting back at suggestions the Gypsy King was reluctant to fight him and accusing the Ukrainian’s team of spreading ‘propaganda’.
Fury is out in Saudi Arabia preparing to face MMA star Francis Ngannou on Saturday night, but his team announced the WBC world champion had agreed to fight Usyk either in December or January following long drawn-out talks.
The pair had been in talks to fight last year before being locked in talks this March – with Usyk even agreeing to a 70-30 split of the prize purse – though negotiations for the showdown were later abandoned.
Francis Ngannou: ‘At the end of the day, it’s going to be a fight’
Mail Sport’s Charlotte Daly is in Riyadh for the weekend’s showdown, and enjoyed an exclusive sit-down with the MMA star.
Tyson Fury has undergone a remarkable body transformation to get himself into tip-top condition for his crossover clash with Francis Ngannou on Saturday night.
The 35-year-old has always joked about his weight, and recently opened up to Mail Sport about his ‘love handles’, but he looked particularly out of shape when he joined Ngannou on stage for their first press conference in early September.
Hello and welcome to Mail Sport’s live coverage of the press conference between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou ahead of their landmark ‘Battle of the Baddest’ match-up on Saturday night.
We’ll be kicking things off at 6pm BST.