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Francis Ngannou’s recent rise to the summit of the UFC heavyweight division has painted a target in his back, and it’s not just from within his own sport.

The Cameroon-born slugger defeated Stipe Miocic last month at the second time of asking to win the UFC heavyweight crown. It had been thought that light heavyweight convert Jon Jones would be Ngannou’s first test as champion but a pay dispute with the UFC appears to have nixed that idea for now, with Dana White talking up Derrick Lewis’ credentials — but another man hovering is arguably the world’s top heavyweight boxer, Tyson Fury.

Fury took to Twitter to call Ngannou “easy work” and that he would “smash” him after he fights Anthony Joshua in the mooted all-England clash to determine the undisputed world heavyweight champ, but Ngannou fired back online to suggest otherwise.

The picture that Ngannou posted is that of the cut Fury sustained in his win against Otto Wallin from September 2019, the fight just prior to Fury’s seven-round shellacking of Deontay Wilder last February.

It is clear that all parties are chasing the potential blockbuster heavyweight clash with Joshua, but Fury is making clear that he has other options — and other paydays — if Joshua’s advisors continue to drag their feet, as has been reported as the hold-up.