World Boxing Council give Tyson Fury special permission to face Francis Ngannou as Warren defends Fury

The World Boxing Council has confirmed that its world heavyweight title holder, Tyson Fury, has been granted special permission from the council to fight former UFC world heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou. 

Top Rank, Frank Warren and Ngannou’s promotional outfit, GIMIK Fight Promotions and Turki Alalshikh (Chairman of the Board of the General Entertainment Authority and Head of Riyadh Season) made the announcement today that a deal had been agreed and will take place on the 28th of October in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

The contest between Fury & Ngannou will be held under boxing rules with three judges and that Fury’s WBC world title will not be contested due to Ngannou not being ranked or licenced by any licencing commission at time of the announcement. 

The WBC as earlier stated that Fury has been granted permission to face Ngannou and will not be stripped of his world title. The WBC announced the governing body’s decision via Twitter and reads in full as follows.

“Mauricio Sulaiman said that Tyson Fury received special permission from the WBC to fight Francis Ngannou as there is no official challenger.

“He mentioned that Fury tried to close fights against Ruiz, Joshua and Usyk but no agreement was reached.”

Talk of a prospective fight between Fury & Ngannou has been in the air since Fury’s successful title defence against Dillian Whyte in April of 2022, of which the former UFC champion was present ringside.

Immediately post-fight, Fury welcomed the proposition by saying, “Big Francis Ngannou is here today. He’s on my hit list in an exhibition fight. However, he wants it: in a cage, in a boxing ring, boxing gloves, UFC gloves, we can make it happen. I think everyone wants to see it. He’s a monster of a guy, I’m a monster of a guy, so it will be a clash of the titans for sure.”

Talks had been held between Fury and unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk, but those talks would ultimately collapse for a proposed bout on April 29th at Wembley Stadium, London. The sticking point in the negotiations was not being able to agree to terms on purse split percentages regarding any possible rematch. Usyk will obligate his mandatory challenger and face Daniel Dubois on August 26th in Wroclaw, Poland, as mandated by the WBA.

Last month, Fury had sent a provisional offer to Anthony Joshua, Matchroom Boxing and 258 management for a proposal to come head-to-head in September at Wembley Stadium. This approach was swiftly rejected by Joshua, who is now facing Dillian Whyte on August 12th in a rematch following their firefight in 2015.

Promoter, Frank Warren has defended Fury’s decision to face Ngannou and had reiterated that Fury, himself and Top Rank had been looking to secure fights with the likes of Usyk, Joshua and Ruiz. However, those fights couldnt be made because each of them “Didnt want to know” about facing Fury.

“There won’t be any belts on the line because the guy is not ranked, but we’re not selling it as that, it’s an event,” Warren said to Talk Sport.

“We’re not saying he’s in the ratings and he won’t be in the ratings, it is what it is. It’s a crossover event between two guys from two different disciplines.”

“These are two guys who are the best in their relative sports, that is what they are. One is the champion of UFC, he has the Guinness World Record as the hardest-ever puncher and he is with Tyson," Warren said.

“Let me tell you, why did we make the fight? Because we tried to make the fight with Usyk, we tried to make the fight with Joshua and neither of them wanted to know. Who else is out there? First of all, this whole division was stagnant, stagnant. Everybody was waiting for a big show in December.

“We were told, a couple of weeks ago, that this is being pushed back to the autumn of 2024. So what are supposed to do? Sit around waiting? They said nothing could be done in Saudi, well something is being done in Saudi.”