Mauricio Sulaiman: "Don’t blame Tyson Fury"
"If you force the mandatory just for the sake of it, you are doing a disservice to the sport"
Here's what he had to say:
How did the Fury-Ngannou fight come about?
MS: Tyson Fury is the WBC heavyweight champion. He has been willing, able, and trying to fight Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz Jr or anyone (available) and has not been able to land the fight that the fans would like to see. Instead of waiting around, he has no mandatory contenders, so he is going to do this special event in Saudi Arabia. The ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’ – the WBC heavyweight champion and the former UFC champion – both giants, this should be a very entertaining evening.
Is it good or bad for boxing? Why is he not fighting a big name like AJ or Usyk?
MS: Well, he is not fighting Oleksandr Usyk because he was not ready last December. Then they couldn’t do it in March and then they went their separate ways. Anthony Joshua – the same thing, so don’t blame Tyson Fury. He has been there and been there ready. I love the event (between Fury and Francis Ngannou). Those crossover events are giving the sport respect and doing it within the rules of boxing. Conor McGregor against Floyd Mayweather was a huge event and so will this. We are fine, respectful, and supporting our champion.
Could you give any insight into the special title created for the fight?
MS: We are celebrating Riyad season in Saudi Arabia in the Middle East and are doing a beautiful, special belt as you saw in the press conference. It has the Octagon, celebrating the crossover in the sport. It’s going to be fancy, very beautiful with fancy jewels and the Riyad champion, I’m going to be very proud to present it to the winner.
Mandatory challenger for Fury any time soon? What’s the deadline?
MS: The mandatory contender is a rule to provide opportunities to the best contender in the division, not to be talked by the champion. If you force the mandatory just for the sake of it, you are doing a disservice to the sport. We will not be rushing up a mandatory contender. We had ordered Wilder vs Ruiz and the winner would have been a sensational mandatory contender and that fight did not take place. They are not participating in it so there is no mandatory contender. Fury is the best heavyweight without a doubt. We would like to see Fury vs Usyk so we will not interfere in the plans to have a major showdown for all the belts so there is no hurry to find a mandatory contender and we will see what happens at the WBC convention.
If Fury-Usyk collapses, and Fury has no fight, is there a time frame to then make Fury defend his WBC belt?
MS: No. Everything is focused on October 28. Once that fight happens, we have the WBC convention on November 12 to 17 and from there we will have the WBC board of governors ruling about the heavyweight division.
If Fury loses to Ngannou then there is a rumoured rematch clause. Could that fight be for the WBC heavyweight title?
MS: I don’t know, I don’t like to anticipate things that are just speculation. We will see. That fight has to happen, and we will see what happens and from there we can make a ruling based on true facts.
If Joshua vs Wilder happens, could this be an eliminator for Fury?
MS: We will see. As I said, we are going to wait for the convention. We knew Wilder did not accept to fight Ruiz or Ruiz did not accept to fight Wilder or neither accepted. I don’t know what the reasons were for that for not taking place. The WBC cancelled that ruling and we are going to wait until the WBC convention to make a new ruling on the heavyweight division.
What are your thoughts on Mike Tyson as trainer for Ngannou?
MS: Mike Tyson is a legendary fighter with great skills, great history, he knows very well the craft of boxing and he knocked out huge men in the past so if someone can give Ngannou advice and training for the biggest fight of his career then it’s Mike Tyson. That combination is going to be powerful and Ngannou has very strong power in his punches. It is going to be a sensational event.
Have you spoken to Mike Tyson about how Ngannou is looking?
MS: No, I have not spoken to Mike I have only seen videos on social media. Mike Tyson is very adhered and knowledgeable. He’s got passion. When he puts something into work, it’s with passion and it’s going to be a big factor in favour of Ngannou.
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