Top Rank COO Jacobs admits Tyson Fury-Francis Ngannou is different

“Yeah, it’s different,” admitted Top Rank’s Brad Jacobs.

Jacobs was in London for the Tyson Fury-Francis Ngannou announcement press conference representing Fury, who is under contract to Top Rank.

Fury-Ngannou, which takes place on October 28, has divided opinion, from outraged purists to casual observers enticed by the oddity of seeing an MMA heavyweight champion fighting the world heavyweight boxing champion in his first professional boxing match.

“But that’s what makes Tyson [Fury] different, it makes the event spectacular, it’s the two biggest, baddest guys on the planet trying to get it together,” said Jacobs. “For boxing purists, I think they’ll watch for Tyson, and MMA fans will be tuning in to see if it’s possible for their guy to beat a regular boxer and a heavyweight champion, so it’s different but that’s what we love about this sport.”

Those on the Fury side of it refer to it as an event, even though Fury said he would be preparing as he would for any other fight. In fact, he said his camp would be twice as long as it was for the third fight with Deontay Wilder, 12 weeks instead of six.

Boxing fans wanted Fury to take on Oleksandr Usyk, and British boxing fans still crave Fury-Anthony Joshua. Instead, they have Fury-Ngannou in Saudi Arabia but it is going to be huge. Promoter Frank Warren reckons it is the biggest event he has been involved in. 

Commercially, it might be bigger for Fury than any other fight outside the big heavyweight three of Wilder (a fourth time), Joshua or Usyk. 

 “I don’t know that, that it’s bigger,” Jacobs continued. “I think it’s big, and you have to determine what an [Oleksandr] Usyk fight looks like or an [Anthony] Joshua fight looks like, which obviously are huge events, but I think this is just another stop on the line of big fights and big events that Tyson [Fury] has, and we get onto the other heavyweight regular champions as we get there.”

Fury famously calls a lot of his own shots, and he has a great deal of negotiating power at the bargaining table, but not many felt the Ngannou fight would actually materialise.

I don’t think anyone had this in mind,” Jacobs continued. “But it doesn’t surprise us at all that Tyson [Fury] wants to be a part of something like this. It’s huge, it’s spectacular and that’s what he’s made for.” 

Still, Usyk has three of the world titles, and a Joshua fight would determine bragging rights in the UK. Ngannou is just a money-making extravaganza that is likely to prove little that we do not already know. 

“I think everyone wants to see the [Oleksandr] Usyk fight,” Jacobs admitted. “You know, [Anthony] Joshua of course [is an option moving forwards]. A spectacular at Wembley or somewhere, so either one of those fights seem like they’re on the horizon.”

It seems like Fury’s future fights for now will be in the UK or Saudi, given the troubles some have had travelling to the United States following the sanctions of Fury’s ‘former advisor’ Daniel Kinahan. 

“I don’t know if that’s an issue any longer,” Jacobs said of the Fury travel ban.