By Cormac O Donnell
Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou was formally announced at a press conference in London on Thursday of this week.
The momentous event, titled “Battle of the Baddest” is to be held on October 28th and will kick off the Riyadh Season in Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh Season – now in it’s fourth year – has highlighted the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a premier destination for the highest quality entertainment, including concerts, events, attractions – and now, boxing.
It taken place every winter since 2019, welcoming more than 37,000,000 visitors from all across the globe. Now, in 2023 – it will deliver a blockbuster boxing event.
The “Battle of the Baddest” sees two behemoths in combat sports, colliding in the Kingdom in what is sure to be one of the most anticipated boxing events of the year.
The fight is brought to the world by His Excellency, Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Turki AlShikh.
Queensberry Promotions, Top Rank and Francis Ngannou’s promotional banner Gimmick Fight Promotions, are the partners collaborating to stage this contest.
Frank Warren, Tyson Fury’s co-promoter, commented on what fans can expect from this fight -and Riyadh Season as a whole: “Tyson Fury’s done everything you can asked for in a in a fighter; undefeated champion, brilliant boxer, brilliant fighter, can he can box, he can stand and trade with you.
This is going to be something special, a very, very special event that is opening the season.
After this you get all these other fantastic events, but this is the event that’s opening it.
It’s a blockbuster event and it’s very special for boxing.”
The WBC have highlighted the significance of the occasion by creating a special commemoratory belt called the “Riyadh” Commemorative Belt.
Frank Warren noted the efforts of the WBC by explaining: “They’ve commissioned the belt, which is the Riyadh belt and hopefully this would be something that would be fought for every year. This is a special event.
This commemorative belt now marks a series of belts commemorating the emergence of boxing in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, thus furthering the dreams of Jose Sulaiman.
Tyson Fury’s brother Tommy Fury previously received the “Diriyah” Commemorative belt in February of this year.
Marquel Martin of 3point0labs and Francis Ngannou’s manager described his feelings about being involved with Riyadh Season and this fight:
“To be honest, it’s a dream come true. This is something that Francis and I have been speaking about for years. Obviously we wouldn’t have been here without the work of this man right here (Francis) throughout his entire life and journey. We wouldn’t be here without His Excellency (Turki AlShikh). So we’re honored.
We’re thankful we’re here to shake up and shock the world. Go back and watch this man’s story.
If you doubt him now, you will be sorry. Come October 28th, this man will shock the world.
It’s destined to be Maktub (destiny).
Tyson Fury’s legendary co-promoter, Bob Arum added to these sentiments:
We are seeing history made.
Riyadh is about to become the entertainment capital in the area and maybe one of the greatest entertainment capitals in the world.
The plans for that city, for that area are enormous and I want to thank the authorities in Saudi Arabia for making it happen, that this event is the kickoff event for the Riyadh emergence into the world of sports and entertainment.
It will be a momentous fight, but more important, it will be long after myself and all of you out there are gone.
Francis Ngannou relayed the high standards he has set for himself – and how these standards are reflected in Riyadh Season.
I’m going to box the guy on top of the mountain. This thing is so big that I can I can’t stop thinking about it. For me it’s more so like history is about to be made in the in Riyadh on October 28th.
Tyson Fury, WBC Heavyweight champion spoke about his joy of being featured in “Battle of the Baddest”, describing it as “a colossal, colossal evert. It’s a very special event for me.”
“Saudi Arabia are coming in and taking over the game. In 5 or 10 years, it will be the powerhouse of all sports. All the big sporting events will be in Saudi Arabia.”
Battle of the Baddest : Fury Vs. Ngannou will take place on October 28th as part of Riyadh Season. It will be available to stream on Pay Per View on TNT Sports and ESPN+.