Mike Tyson's Presence in Francis Ngannou's Corner Adds Psychological Edge
In the lead-up to the epic clash between Francis Ngannou and Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia, the presence of boxing legend Mike Tyson in Ngannou’s corner is creating quite a stir. Ngannou, a former UFC heavyweight champion, is making his boxing debut against Fury in a highly anticipated crossover event known as ‘the Battle of the Baddest.’
To level the playing field against the boxing titan Fury, Ngannou has sought the guidance and training of none other than Mike Tyson, known as ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ during his prime. Tyson has taken on a coaching role, eager to impart his legendary boxing prowess to the MMA powerhouse, helping him harness his concussive power in the boxing ring.
Tyson, despite being a former world champion, has shown a rare willingness to step into a coaching role. He has been working on refining Ngannou’s style and in-ring qualities, much like his legendary trainer Cus D’Amato did with him over four decades ago. Ngannou, who boasts a ferocious MMA record with 12 of his 17 wins by knockout, is now aiming to translate his MMA knockout power into boxing success.
While Fury is the clear favorite in their impending battle, Tyson’s presence adds an intriguing dimension to the showdown. According to former UFC fighter Dan Hardy, who now serves as the director of European fighter operations with the Professional Fighters League (PFL), Tyson has been instilling the same style and ringcraft that made him a dominant force in the heavyweight division during the 1980s and 90s.
Hardy believes that Tyson’s presence in Ngannou’s corner provides a significant psychological advantage. He points out that Tyson’s ability to move swiftly, keep a high guard, and employ the Peek-a-boo style is precisely what Ngannou needs to get inside Tyson Fury’s jab and land his powerful punches.
Hardy acknowledges that Ngannou may not have had enough time to add extensive new elements to his game, so optimizing his existing strengths, particularly his knockout punch, is the key. Tyson’s technical expertise and understanding of fighting larger opponents could be invaluable to Ngannou.
Fury, who himself is named after the youngest heavyweight world champion in 1986, views Tyson as a hero. However, Tyson will be plotting Fury’s downfall in this unique matchup.
Ngannou’s commitment to seeking Tyson’s guidance demonstrates his determination to excel in the boxing world and his willingness to learn from the best. For Tyson Fury, after this bout, his attention will turn to Oleksandr Usyk and their historic undisputed title fight, possibly by the end of December.
Interestingly, Fury has expressed his openness to competing against Ngannou in the MMA world, leaving his comfort zone to face his opponent in a different arena, where Ngannou has been highly effective. The potential of these two worlds colliding adds an extra layer of excitement to this already intriguing showdown.
In the ever-evolving landscape of combat sports, fighters crossing over from one discipline to another are becoming more common, and the presence of legends like Mike Tyson in the corner adds an element of mystique to this unique matchup.