Tyson Fury is back – and he’s taking on former UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou. Read on to find out how you can purchase the fight on TNT Sports Box Office with Virgin Media
By Chris Miller, Feature Writer
November 2013. That’s when Tyson Fury first suggested that he was going to retire from boxing. But almost 10 years and multiple world title wins later, he’s about to step into the ring again. And there’s still a palpable sense of excitement in the nation whenever this entertaining, powerful, unpredictable boxer is back doing what he does best.
And Fury’s upcoming fight – which you can see live on TNT Sports Box Office – is one of his most intriguing to date. On 28 October, he’ll face former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in a hotly anticipated bout that will showcase a fascinating contrast in fighting styles between two athletes who have reigned supreme in their respective disciplines. It’s not a title fight in the classic sense because Ngannou cannot win Fury’s WBC belt. But Fury can lose it.
Boxers and MMA fighters have faced each other in the ring before, most notably when Floyd Mayweather took on Conor McGregor in 2017, and plenty of boxers have tried their hand in the Octagon. But we’ve never seen such a fight between two heavyweight champions – and, arguably, two of the greatest ever practitioners of their sports.
You can see this mouth-watering fight live on TNT Sports Box Office with Virgin Media on Saturday 28 October. Here’s what you need to know.
What’s the background to this fight?
It was after Fury’s successful WBC title defence against Dillian Whyte in April 2022 that “The Gypsy King” first suggested he could be up for a clash with a UFC champ like Ngannou. Instead he, er, retired, but that didn’t last long and he was back for another title fight in December against Derek Chisora. After he beat Chisora, there were moves afoot to pit him against multiple belt holder Oleksandr Usyk or fellow British star Anthony Joshua, but negotiations were unsuccessful.
In July, it was confirmed that he would compete against Ngannou, who had recently parted company with the UFC after a failure to agree terms for a new contract – even though he was the promotion’s reigning heavyweight champion. It’ll be a 10-round fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and it’s one both boxing and MMA fans are looking forward to with huge expectations.
What’s Ngannou’s story?
It’s a compelling one. Born in a povverty-stricken community in Cameroon, he was working in a quarry aged 10. As an adult he began boxing training, but opportunities were limited and he decided to head for Europe. He was imprisoned in Spain as an illegal immigrant, and was homeless in Paris for a while before getting his foot in the door at the city’s MMA Factory gym, which was his home for a while.
He fought in the UFC for the first time in December 2015 and worked his way up to a title challenge, facing heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in January 2018. He lost but didn’t let that derail his progress, and when he got another shot at the champ at UFC 260 in March 2021, he took it, knocking Miocic out in the second round. He defended his title against Cyril Gane before his relationship with UFC turned sour.
Ngannou has now signed with the Professional Fighters’ League, enabling him to participate in lucrative MMA fights while also taking part in other contests like this boxing match-up with Fury. With this contract he’s taken unprecedented control over his own career, and he’s also on the PFL advisory board, advocating for fighters to receive a fair purse and aiming to extend opportunities into Africa.
So does Ngannou have a chance in the boxing ring?
There’s no doubt MMA fighters have struggled when they turn to boxing (and vice versa). McGregor, then the UFC lightweight champ, started well against Mayweather but could not keep up with the American’s endurance, mobility and, ultimately, punching power.
But in heavyweight bouts, a puncher always has a chance. And in 2017, Ngannou’s right overhand and uppercut were among those measured by the UFC Performance Institute, who concluded that he claimed the world record for punching power. That’s right – the hardest punch in the world. Now, that has to demand Fury’s full attention.
What are Fury and Ngannou saying ahead of the fight?
Fury is, as ever, being generous with his praise – in that way that makes him look even better after he pulverises an opponent. “I’m stoked to step into the ring with Francis. He’s shaping up to be an outstanding opponent,” Fury said. “Clearly, he’s in beast mode, both mentally and physically. Major props to Francis for his journey, from his grind to his relentless drive that got him here. Francis has earned mad respect, not just as a fighter, but as a stand-up guy and a champ.”
Ngannou is clearly up for the challenge too. “This is my moment. This is my lifetime. This is the boxing dream I’ve been having since I was a kid, even a long time before I discovered MMA,” he told TMZ Sports. “The belt might not be on the line but he is the reigning champion, and this is the dream. So I am coming for everything.”
There have been murmurs that Fury may not be taking this fight seriously. He’s shut those down and reassured fans that he absolutely is. “Duking it out with mostly traditional boxers has been my thing, but facing an MMA enthusiast like Francis? That’s an exciting curveball. I’m all in for this showdown. It’s set to be a game-changer.”
How do they measure up?
When is Fury v Ngannou on TV?
You can see this heavyweight fight on TNT Sports Box Office with Virgin Media from 6pm on Saturday 28 October. It’s available to order from 10am on Tuesday 24 October and costs £21.95 (HD only). The event is repeated every two hours from 8am on Sunday 29 October until 8pm on Monday 30 October (last playout).
How can I order the fight?
To watch this event, you must have a TiVo® box, Virgin TV V6 box, powered by TiVo®, a Virgin TV 360 box or Stream.
TiVo® and V6 customers: Go to Home > On Demand > Live Events or press On Demand and go to Live Events. Press the red button then choose the event and follow the instructions on screen. A TV PIN may not be required. To view your booking, once purchased, go to On Demand > Live Events > Event Bookings.
Virgin TV 360 and Stream customers: Go to Home > Pay Per View Events rail. Press OK, then choose the event and follow the instructions on screen. A TV PIN may not be required. To view your booking, once purchased, go to Home > Pay Per View Events rail.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV required to view HD channels.
TNT Sports Box Office: TiVo® box, Virgin TV V6 box or Virgin TV 360 box is required to watch this event in HD.
Terms and conditions
When purchasing the pay-per-view event on Virgin Media a TV PIN will be required on a TiVo®, Virgin TV V6 (powered by TiVo®), Virgin TV 360 or Stream box, unless you have changed or make changes to the settings on your box.
If you would like to disable the pay-per-view PIN prompt on a TiVo® or Virgin TV V6 (powered by TiVo®) box, complete the following setting changes via your remote control: go to Settings > Purchase Controls and ensure the setting is set to “allow purchases without a PIN”. This will disable all PIN prompts for content that does not conflict with regulatory watershed requirements.
If you would like to disable the pay-per-view PIN prompt on a Virgin TV 360 or Stream box, complete the following setting changes via your remote control: go to Settings > Parental Controls > Set PIN for payments and ensure the setting is set to “OFF”. This will disable all PIN prompts for the purchase of any content, however you may still be required to enter a PIN for any content which otherwise requires parental control and/or conflicts with regulatory watershed requirements.
This event CANNOT be recorded and is NOT available to view/purchase via Liberate boxes. Repeats are free once you’ve ordered the event. If you miss the event, you can purchase the repeats.
For more information on how to watch pay per view events on Virgin Media, please visit: How to watch pay per view on Virgin Media TV