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Tyson Fury was named after family idol Mike Tyson, but now the ex-world champion is plotting the Gypsy King's downfall as he looks to coach Francis Ngannou to a huge upset win… and John Fury wants to get 'Iron' Mike in the ring himself!

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Saturday night’s heavyweight showdown in Saudi Arabia between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou has been billed as the ‘Battle of the Baddest’.

Former heavyweight king Mike Tyson previously held the title of the ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’ so it is only fitting that he is involved in what promises to be one of the boxing’s biggest fights of the year.

But Tyson being in Ngannou’s corner may have caught some fans by surprise, particularly given how he has been admired by the Fury family over the years.

Fury was born prematurely on August 12, 1988, with doctors telling his parents he was unlikely to survive.

He fought his way through, though, and his father John felt it was only right to name him after the world’s best boxer and his idol at the time, Mike Tyson.

Mike Tyson has agreed to train Francis Ngannou for his huge crossover clash with Tyson Fury

Mike Tyson has agreed to train Francis Ngannou for his huge crossover clash with Tyson Fury

Fury was named after Tyson, but now the family idol is plotting his downfall

Fury was named after Tyson, but now the family idol is plotting his downfall

Tyson was halfway through his first reign as world champion after becoming the youngest heavyweight champion in history in November 1986 when he beat Trevor Berbick.

Almost 29 years to the day later, Fury toppled long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko in his adopted homeland of Germany to become the new top dog in the heavyweight division.

It was a win that sent shockwaves around the globe, and forced fans Stateside to sit up and take notice, especially when Fury then went over to the US to get a draw against Deontay Wilder in December 2018, before stopping the American 14 months later.

But what did Tyson make of his namesake, and the most recent successor to his throne as heavyweight king?

Speaking back in 2020, Tyson admitted he was a big fan.

‘I always root for him because he was named after me,’ he said. ‘That’s the natural thing to do, right?

‘So I am biased towards him. He’s different, he’s 6ft 9in, but he’s really elusive, he’s a boxer and I just wish him the best of luck.’

Another victory over Wilder followed in 2021, and Fury then eased past domestic foes Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora last year to cement his place as the world’s No 1 heavyweight.

Fury has always spoken positively about Tyson, and the feeling was mutual when the pair met for dinner earlier this year ahead of Fury’s younger brother Tommy’s fight against Jake Paul in Saudi Arabia.

Tyson gushed over Fury, predicting he would be ‘the champ for a long time’. There were no signs of the fallout that lay ahead.

But as Fury struggled to find an opponent in the first part of 2023, with talks over an undisputed fight with Oleksandr Usyk breaking down, the possibility of a crossover clash with Ngannou grew.

Former UFC champion Ngannou has never been in a boxing match before, but had jumped in the ring to call for a fight with Fury after his win over Whyte in April 2022, and he finally got his wish.

Tyson has never shirked a challenge, and the opportunity to train Ngannou was too good to turn down when he was approached by the 37-year-old.

As Ngannou entered camp for the biggest fight of his life in August, Tyson was there alongside him.

And he genuinely believes Ngannou can win, claiming the Cameroonian-born star punches harder than anyone Fury has ever faced in the ring.

Tyson has been watching on closely as Ngannou prepares for his first ever boxing match

Tyson has been watching on closely as Ngannou prepares for his first ever boxing match

Tyson feels Ngannou is the hardest puncher Fury has faced, and referred to how Steve Cunningham (right) dropped the Gypsy King back in 2013

Tyson feels Ngannou is the hardest puncher Fury has faced, and referred to how Steve Cunningham (right) dropped the Gypsy King back in 2013

‘Tyson Fury got dropped by a small guy (Steve Cunningham) early in his career,’ Tyson told Jim Rome.

‘This guy (Ngannou) punches like God knows who, he moves quicker, I’ve worked with his speed.

‘Listen man, he only has to land one or two, Tyson’s never been in the ring with a guy that can punch this hard.

‘I think this guy punches harder than anybody he’s ever fought.’

It was a big call from Tyson to go against a man he has previously thrown his full support behind, and John Fury has admitted he was hurt by the decision.

But he has conceded he understands the reasoning behind it – money.

‘They’re obviously paying him a lot of money to do what he’s doing,’ he told Mail Sport earlier this month. 

‘Good luck to Mike Tyson for getting in that position because they’ll be paying him big boy money to be messing with Ngannou.

‘Mike Tyson doesn’t do anything personal. It’s not because he likes Ngannou more than Tyson – it’s rubbish. The man is doing it to get his living, for a pay check. I’d have done the same thing. Let’s not get caught up between business and personal relationships. This is the fight game and it’s dog eat dog.’

John may have accepted Tyson’s decision, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t keen to get his hands on him for turning his back on his son.

Fury Snr, who has become known for being outspoken and often taking centre stage at press conferences, insists that he is a ‘fighting man’ and wants to test himself against Tyson.

John Fury is not happy that Tyson has turned his back on his son to train Ngannou

John Fury is not happy that Tyson has turned his back on his son to train Ngannou

He has challenged Tyson to a fight on multiple occasions, including at Thursday's final press conference

He has challenged Tyson to a fight on multiple occasions, including at Thursday’s final press conference

Mike Tyson is still training hard, practising his ferocious hooks and uppercuts

Mike Tyson is still training hard, practising his ferocious hooks and uppercuts

The former heavyweight king remains in tremendous shape, having turned 57 earlier this year

The former heavyweight king remains in tremendous shape, having turned 57 earlier this year

He believes a bout with Tyson would bring in ‘big money’ and has called for a showdown with the man he has looked up to for most of his life.

‘At this stage, I want to make my dream come true and fight the man I named my son after. If it happens so be it and if it doesn’t, good luck to him,’ John said to Mail Sport.

‘I’m 58 years old. I’m endangering my life so they’d have to pay me well. It’s got to be a lot. Let’s put it this way – you’ve got to be a big boy and there’s not a lot out there. The only big boys out there are Saudis. They’ll pay the big boy money, won’t they?

‘But if they won’t, that’s it, it’s over. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. I don’t need training camps and weeks to get fit, I’m ready to go.’ 

‘Let’s get stripped off, get the gloves on and have a fight in the middle of the ring. He’s an old guy, so am I.

‘Let’s give [fans] some entertainment. If I get knocked out, I get knocked out, but there will be a fight. And let me tell you – if I don’t go past two rounds don’t pay me. Because I’m confident in myself. I can hold that with any man on Earth.’

He talked up a fight with Tyson again at Thursday’s final press conference, and had to be held back by security guards at one point as he shouted ‘I can fight you right now’ in Tyson’s direction. 

John has declared himself ‘ready to go’, and one look at Tyson indicates he doesn’t require much preparation time either.

‘Iron’ Mike turned 57 in June, but has kept himself in tremendous shape, and regularly posts footage of himself on the pads in the gym delivering the ferocious hooks and uppercuts that made him the most feared man on the planet in his prime.

He had an exhibition bout against fellow boxing legend Roy Jones Jr in 2020, managing to get through eight rounds at a good pace.

He may have expected that to be his final trip to the squared circle, but with John calling him out on multiple occasions, the chance to get one over his namesake’s dad may prove too tempting.

Tyson has suffered a shock upset loss before when he was beaten by James 'Buster' Douglas

Tyson has suffered a shock upset loss before when he was beaten by James ‘Buster’ Douglas 

Now, Ngannou is aiming to pull off one of the biggest upsets ever against Fury

Now, Ngannou is aiming to pull off one of the biggest upsets ever against Fury

For now, though, Tyson’s focus is on helping Ngannou pull off one of the biggest shocks in heavyweight history.

He was on the receiving end of a huge upset when he lost to James ‘Buster’ Douglas in 1990, so knows only too well how anything can happen when two giants collide.

Can Tyson’s charge do the unthinkable?

We will get our answer on Saturday night in Riyadh.