Days after Tyson Fury took to Twitter to state that a boxing match against UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou would be “easy work”, the Cameroonian champion’s striking coach says that with a little bit of preparation behind him his fighter could pose some problems for boxing’s heavyweight elite.
Fury has long stoked rumours of one day competing against a UFC fighter, with Ngannou apparently the latest target in his crosshairs but is strongly linked to a winner-takes-all showdown with compatriot Anthony Joshua sometime in the next few months, should some last-minute stumbling blocks be cleared.
But if the opportunity for a Fury-Ngannou boxing match comes along, the UFC champ’s striking coach, Dewey Cooper, says his man would be ready.
“Tyson Fury, right now, is the best boxer in the world,” Cooper said to RT Sport. “Tyson Fury is difficult for any heavyweight because of the attributes, the speed, the boxing ability, the good defense, the confidence, the swagger of Tyson Fury. Tyson’s a real one. Tyson’s a tough fight for anyone in boxing, but Francis definitely could fight any heavyweight, with time and amending the training a little bit.
“He could definitely do it because Francis does have power, however, with a boxing glove the power will decrease a little bit compared to what it is with an MMA glove because an MMA glove is only four ounces when a boxing glove is 10 ounces. So that makes a difference, you know, a lot of little intangible things. But to answer your question, of course he can box and of course he could eventually beat someone like a Tyson Fury, for sure. It just, you need to go into a straight boxing format.”
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However Cooper — who was a former pro boxer with a record of 19-3-3 — acknowledges that his man would struggle to outbox someone of Fury’s calibre, and a task should as this would require specialised preparation.
“A lot more anaerobic activity, stuff like that,” Cooper said of the changed of approach needed. “Because even though the MMA rounds are five minutes, people underestimate those three minute rounds. The pace is a hell of a lot faster and you have to do way more rounds. A championship MMA fight is 25 minutes, a championship boxing fight is 36 minutes, and let me tell you something, that 11 minutes makes a big ass difference when you’re not getting taken down, you can’t lay on the ground, you can’t go for submissions. It’s punching or tying up momentarily being broken and keep punching again. So the anaerobic aspect has to be on point too.
“A lot of people who do MMA think boxing is much easier until they box and they realize boxing is way tougher than what people think. More people die annually in boxing than any other fight sport. That should tell you something. Boxing is a very dangerous sport to be involved in.
“But to answer your question, he can do it. He can do it, it just has to be formatted in the right situation.”