Promoter Frank Warren has revealed that WBC heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury is targeting a rematch with Francis Ngannou if he successfully negates past unified heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Fury and Usyk will finally meet after a year-long period of negotiations on February 17th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in which they will contest the undisputed heavyweight world championship. The February 17th date is a revised date after struggling and scraping past Ngannou last month after being dropped and scraping to achieve a split decision win.
Promoter Warren immediately revealed post-fight that he would be pushing back the date for the undisputed encounter between Fury and Ngannou, which was previously set for December 23rd in Riyadh. The undisputed fight between the two heavyweight kingpins was formally confirmed last week at a press conference in London.
The contest between Fury and Usyk features a two-way rematch clause, almost guaranteeing a return fixture. However, this has not prevented Fury from targeting a rematch with Ngannou, who now finds himself ranked within the WBC’s heavyweight rankings and making a world title fight increasingly likely if Fury chooses to pursue another opportunity with Ngannou if Fury remains in possession of the WBC crown.
Speaking to the MMA Hour, Warren believes there is ‘a good chance’ that a rematch between Fury and Ngannou will happen and that Ngannou and Fury want to make the rematch happen.
“I think there’s a good chance of that happening. I do,” Warren told The MMA Hour’s Ariel Helwani.
“I don’t know [if it’ll be next for Fury]. It’s like jumping too far forward. Let’s get the big one [with Oleksandr Usyk on February 17th] out of the way first, and then we’ll see where we go. But I do think [it’ll happen]. Tyson told me that he wants the rematch, and I know Ngannou wants it, because after the fight we were out there, we met at His Excellency [Turki Alalshikh]’s house and we had quite a lengthy conversation. He’s a nice guy, by the way. He’s a really nice guy, good team around him, and I’m quite sure we’ll do it again.”
Warren continued and conceded that Ngannou performed much better than he expected ability-wise, complimenting Ngannou, but if a rematch does take place, he expects Fury to produce a much better performance after sharing a ring with the former UFC heavyweight champion.
“There was no video footage to look at of Ngannou in a ring. All you could look at him of was in an MMA match, in UFC as it was. And when I looked at that, I could see him as a tough guy,” Warren said.
“He’s a big competitor, he’s strong, so I knew that if it was coming into clinches or whatever — Tyson, as he’s fought in his last four fights, where he stood toe-to-toe with people and slugged it out in some cases, like he did with Deontay Wilder, he didn’t do what he used to do in the past, which was to get up on his toes and box, use his jab. He actually stood there and traded with him. And I thought that if they do that, I don’t want him getting in these clinches with Ngannou, because I felt that he’d be used to that.
“But when that first bell went and he came out and I watched as he shapes up, I thought to myself, ‘Oh, this is not what I’m expecting. This is not.’ Normally, MMA guys, they’re a bit more square on. He actually had the stance of a boxer, and he could jab, and he was switch-hitting. And after a couple of rounds, obviously, I believed Tyson was winning, but I thought, ‘This is not going to be the job that everybody’s saying it’s going to be.’”