Tyson Fury said he is planning to retire from boxing in the immediate aftermath of his knockout win over Dillian Whyte – before immediately suggesting he’ll fight UFC champion Francis Ngannou in 2023.
Boxing’s heavyweight world champion Fury and his UFC counterpart, Ngannou, have been talking up a crossover bout with hybrid rules for some time.
It now appears that it’s a serious possibility for next year after Fury invited Ngannou to the ring at Wembley following his win over Whyte.
One glance at Fury’s most recent fight purse and it becomes clear why Ngannou wants to share the ring with ‘The Gypsy King’.
Frank Warren won the rights to promote the fight between Fury and Whyte in January as he came out on top with a bid of $41million (£32million) in the WBC purse bids.
10 percent of this was kept back as a $4.1million (£3.2million) winner’s bonus, while the rest was split 80/20 between the pair.
Fury’s base purchase was $29.5million (£23million). After claiming his winner’s bonus for knocking out Whyte in six, his total purse for the fight ended up at $33.6million (£26.2million).
That is a far cry from what Ngannou has been making in the UFC.
Despite being the heavyweight champion Ngannou earned just $600,000 (£471,000) from his most recent outing against Ciryl Gane, when he won by decision despite entering the fight with a knee injury, as he became the undisputed king of UFC heavyweights.
‘The Predator’ has been at odds with the UFC regarding his contract for some time.
Ngannou has fought the last fight on his current deal but is tied to the MMA leader for three more fights or one year – whatever comes first, due to a championship clause in his contract.
The 35-year-old recently underwent surgery on his injured knee and is expected to sit out the rest of 2022, before moving on to explore the lucrative free agency market.
Fury vs Whyte scorecards revealed as one judge’s score is called into question
Money won’t lure Fury out of retirement, but wife Paris explains what might
‘It was a close fight’ – Whyte speaks for the first time since being KO’d by Fury
Tyson Fury made £24,000 per SECOND as total purse for Dillian Whyte fight is revealed
Tyson Fury offers Derek Chisora new home after old foe ‘bet his house’ on Whyte
Tyson Fury gets Eddie Hearn on FaceTime as he celebrates Dillian Whyte KO at lunch
Amazingly, Ngannou’s main issue with the UFC has nothing to do with his pay. T
he Cameroonian knockout artist wants a flexible contract that allows him to crossover into the boxing world for fights with the likes of Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Anthony Joshua.
“Even when they’re trying to reach out for a deal, they came out with a good amount of money, but at this point that doesn’t even matter,” he said on The MMA Hour.
“I left all that down on the table. I’m taking my $600,000, I’m going there, I’m doing this and I’m winning everything.
“I left a lot more on the table. Overall, I’ve been leaving a lot of money on the table even since the Stipe fight. By now, I might be down $7million (£5.2m) that I left on the table.
“This is the thing. Freedom doesn’t work with money. You give up one for one. Whether you want freedom, whether you want money. You give up one to gain one.”