Tyson Fury has called No. 5 ranked UFC heavyweight Tom Aspinall to help him prepare for an upcoming boxing contest against former UFC champion Francis Ngannou. Fury is set to take on Ngannou under professional boxing rules on Saturday, October 28, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The fight comes nearly three years after the former UFC heavyweight champion began questioning what he and other MMA fighters would need to do to make the same amount of money that boxers like Fury make. The pair will now face off in a fascinating match that has already generated plenty of intrigue.
Aspinall, a current heavyweight on the UFC roster, is known for having some of the best technical standup skills among the current crop of fighters ranked in the division. So it’s no surprise that Fury would call upon Aspinall to help prepare him for their upcoming fight.
“Tyson actually called me the other day and wants me to help him with his training camp, so that’ll be interesting,” said Aspinall.
In December 2022, Ngannou gave up his UFC heavyweight championship to become a free agent. This happened because of several contractual disagreements, including a dispute over the value of his contract and a request for a salary increase to fight Jon Jones, the current UFC heavyweight champion.
Dana White, the UFC president, announced that the promotion had released Ngannou. This included waiving the exclusive negotiating window and one-year matching rights clause. As a result, Ngannou was also stripped of his heavyweight title.
Aspinall previously trained with Team Fury, consisting of Tyson and his father, in preparation for his fight against Russian heavyweight Alexander Volkov in England, his home country. While the young heavyweight didn’t use his trademark boxing skills to put away his opponent, Aspinall still extended his former winning streak to eight fights with a straight armbar, earning a $50,000 performance of the night bonus.
Fury’s father gave Aspinall the full stamp of approval back in March 2022, where he predicted that the 30-year-old heavyweight had the skillset to become the first MMA fighter to crossover into boxing and succeed as both sports, a feat that’s been attempted by the likes of Conor McGregor and former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.
Although the fight between Fury and Ngannou is happening through a ruleset that the Gypsy King is familiar with, Aspinall believes Ngannou still has a small chance to win the fight. He said: “Slight puncher’s chance for Ngannou, but I don’t think he has much of a puncher’s chance.”
Fury has faced criticism for agreeing to fight Ngannou instead of facing Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight boxing world championships, as some boxing fans believe the Gypsy King should focus on his duties as their sport’s champion before pursuing crossover money fights. Fury and Ngannou are expected to earn more than $8 million for the fight, exponentially increasing the former MMA champion’s last disclosed payout of around $600,000 against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270.