Francis Ngannou believes he will fight Tyson Fury next year.
The 35 year old is competing for the undisputed heavyweight title at UFC 270, but Ngannou has openly declared he will depart UFC after that fight and is seeking to make waves in the lucrative world of boxing.
Ngannou, an ambassador for leading cryptocurrency betting and gaming operator Stake, said: “I don’t know exactly when Tyson and I will fight, but I think maybe some time in 2023. I am still under contract with UFC so I don’t know right now the state of my situation or how it will play out.
“But I will say it will probably happen at some point. It is definitely something I want to do, but we don’t have control over it right now.
“I know it will be very tough when we fight. Not only am I coming from a distant sport, but I am testing myself against one of the best, if not the best, boxer ever.
“But I’m not thinking of fighting someone like Ciryl Gane the same way as I would fight Tyson Fury. Obviously I am confident, but it will be something totally different and new for me.
“Fury has obviously proven he can last a very long time in a fight – but I am sure I will throw some bombs at him that he will not have experienced before.”
Ngannou would certainly pose a different problem to Fury and his power is undeniable, but attempting to box with the unbeaten Gypsy King sounds a tall task.
The Cameroonian’s UFC deal could expire if he loses at UFC 270, but if he wins the title, that would keep him locked in for another year due to a ‘champion’s clause’.
Fury is looking likely to face Dillian Whyte in the coming months and then, potentially, the winner of the Oleksandr Uysk and Anthony Joshua rematch.
For Ngannou, his date with Gane on January 22 is his primary focus right now and he believes he will knock his French counterpart out.
“I am not actually very familiar with Gane – I have only trained with him less than eight times for a few weeks three years ago. That is not enough to know that much about it,” he said.
“Also, everyone has improved and worked on different things since then – so it doesn’t mean anything for me. But yes, he is an all round good fighter whose abilities I am aware of.
“I heard Gane wants to go five rounds and win on points. That is definitely a BIG risk with my power to try and last that long. It will have to be his very lucky day to survive the first round or two, let alone five. If he makes five rounds, it will be a big accomplishment for him.
“My prediction is that it will probably be a second round knockout from me – or at least I will have knocked him out in under two rounds.”
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