Price: Ngannou should have boxed professionally before taking on Fury

David Price believes that Francis Ngannou should have fought other boxers before being allowed to fight Tyson Fury.

The mixed martial artist is to fight the world’s leading heavyweight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, and though he will not be challenging for the WBC title, Price understands why the contest between them is being critiqued.

In the first years of their careers, and partly on account of Price’s victory over Fury as an amateur, Price represented the 35-year-old’s leading rival. In the years since then they have become friends – the retired Price visited Fury when one of Fury’s children was in hospital in Liverpool, his home city – but Price regardless recognises that there are other fighters more worthy of the opportunity presented to Ngannou.

Price had been in contention to challenge Anthony Joshua, then recognised as the world’s leading heavyweight, in 2018 when he lost to Alexander Povetkin and Povetkin then became Joshua’s next opponent. He therefore knows how difficult it is to reach the nature of position Ngannou finds himself in, and the frustration that other fighters are likely to feel. 

“From the outside looking in, it’s not great,” he told ProBox TV. “Just let him [Francis Ngannou] have a couple of fights, boxing, first. 

“[But] people will watch it, and once it’s done, it’s done isn’t it? He’ll [Tyson Fury] just go back to fighting boxers again. There’s no point in really getting that bothered about it. There are fighters more deserving of the shot than him [Ngannou] obviously – they’ll be kicking themselves a little bit. 

“But their chance will come around sooner or later whether it’s with [Tyson] Fury, or whoever. I’d rather assume it would be a good fight with another boxer.”

Since starting his preparations for the 37-year-old Ngannou, Fury has agreed to fight Oleksandr Usyk – the IBF, WBA and WBO champion – for the undisputed heavyweight title.

A date and location is yet to be confirmed, but Price was unsurprised that Fury finally agreed to fight the Ukrainian after, in victory over Daniel Dubois in August, he showed perceived signs of decline.

“It’s not who you fight, it’s who you don’t fight, and when you fight them,” Price explained. “That’s just wise, really. Clever – just being a businessman. 

“If he just was backed into a corner to fight Usyk, I’d say he would beat him. You want everything in your favour, don’t you?”