Tyson Fury briefly retired last year, a hiatus that lasted all of four months before he scheduled a December trilogy fight with Derek Chisora.
Fury is set to meet former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou on Oct. 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2 p.m. ET, ESPN+ PPV), and afterward is already contractually committed for an undisputed heavyweight championship fight with Oleksandr Usyk.
Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) told ESPN on Thursday that he won’t stop fighting anytime soon after that.
“I’m looking to sign another 10-fight deal after this, so I don’t know, I’m gonna put my feelers out there and see who I can get the best deal off for another 10 fights,” said Fury, who signed a multi-fight deal with Top Rank in 2019.
“What else is there? I retire, plenty of money, plenty of achievement, whatever — 35 [years old]. What am I gonna do? … This makes me f—ing happy fighting. This is all I’ve ever done and all that’s ever made me happy. So it’d be stupid now to walk away from it when I’m making millions of dollars and getting loads of joy from it as well.”
Fury, nicknamed “The Gypsy King,” is already an all-time great heavyweight but can greatly enhance his legacy with a pair of victories over Usyk, who is three spots ahead of Fury on ESPN’s pound-for-pound list at No. 3.
The long-awaited clash between England’s Fury and Ukraine’s Usyk is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 23 in Riyadh, sources said, but the date won’t be finalized until after Fury’s bout with Ngannou. The Usyk deal contains a two-way rematch clause, sources said, that will likely lead to a rematch next year.
Fury’s WBC heavyweight title won’t be on the line in his 10-round bout with Ngannou and it won’t count on their records. But Fury must emerge without injury if he’s going to fight Usyk less than two months later.
“A lot of people are on about this undisputed fight, fantastic,” said Fury, ESPN’s No. 1 heavyweight. “But I have a much more dangerous person to deal with on next Saturday than I do after for the undisputed fight, I believe.
“Because Francis is a bigger man, stronger, more powerful, and has knockout capability. As we’ve seen with Oleksandr Usyk, he doesn’t really do much damage to people he hits. So you could probably let Usyk punch you all about the head and he’ll give you a black eye. If you let Ngannou punch you all about the head, he’s probably gonna rattle your brain for you.”
Ngannou, 37, is one of the biggest punchers in UFC history, but he has never boxed in the pros or amateurs. Usyk, meanwhile, is an Olympic gold medalist boxer who is the former undisputed cruiserweight champion. He successfully defended his three heavyweight titles when he scored a ninth-round KO of Daniel Dubois in August.
Ngannou’s last fight came in January 2022 when he defeated Ciryl Gane in the Octagon.
“He won’t do anything that I’ve not seen before,” said Fury, who upset Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 for the unified championship. “I’ve sparred with a lot of kickboxers and MMA fighters over the years. They’re all strong and tough guys, and they all can take a good beating usually.
“So I’m expecting him to be fit and strong and motivated. He’s getting an awful lot of money to be here and fight, so I’m sure he is gonna have a good game plan, and I’m sure he is gonna try and execute it.”
Fury said he’s in the prime of his career, and it’s hard to argue with him. He has shown no signs of slowing down during this second act, which includes two victories over Deontay Wilder inside the distance. The trilogy fight with Wilder, which Fury won via 11th-round KO, was named ESPN’s Fight of the Year and KO of the Year for 2021.
Fury went 2-0 last year, with TKO wins in London against Whyte and Chisora. All this success came after Fury ballooned to upward of 400 pounds as he battled depression and substance abuse that sidelined him for two and a half years.
Now, he’s arguably boxing’s top star after Canelo Alvarez and is fighting Ngannou on the heels of a hit reality show on Netflix.
Fury has also dabbled with WWE, but said he is probably finished wrestling.
“WWE’s too hard for me,” Fury said. “Boxing is much easier than WWE. It’s very physical and taxing on the body. WWE, getting slammed on the floor and all that sort of stuff. I’d rather move around the ring and dodge punches.”
That’s what Fury is best at after all. And at least for the moment, he seems keen to fight on for a long time.
“I’ve been boxing 15 years as a pro,” said Fury, who had surgery on both elbows in 2021. “I’m gonna be prone to injuries, you know, elbows, knees, shoulders, ankles, everything that can go wrong on somebody usually at our age now that goes wrong.”
“Boxing is definitely more entertaining when I’m in it,” Fury added. “I’ll say boxing will be f—ed when I’m gone.”