It probably comes as no surprise to hear U.K. MMA veteran Scott Askham siding with British heavyweight champ Tyson Fury ahead of this weekend’s “Battle of the Baddest” boxing card.
Askham (19-6), who returns to action next month at Oktagon 48 in Manchester, told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview on Friday that he expected to see Fury come out on top against ex-UFC champ Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
“Tyson Fury for me is the best heavyweight boxer ever to be seen. I don’t think there’s no way that Francis Ngannou can deal with that power,” Askham suggested. “I think Tyson looks in shape, sounds confident when he’s talking. I know he always does sound confident, but I don’t see a way to victory [for Ngannou]. I know they say he’s got a puncher’s chance, but we’re talking about a guy who got off the floor from Deontay Wilder here. So I really don’t see that happening.”
Fury vs. Ngannou is the latest boxing versus MMA crossover, which has mostly seen one-way traffic over the years. James Toney aside (who did not fare well against Randy Couture), few boxers have made the switch, on the men’s side of the sport anyway.
“Let’s all be straight up, it’s not going to happen,” Askham replied when asked if he’d like to see more boxers come to MMA. “It’s an easier market to sell MMA fighters going into boxing then boxers coming into MMA. It’s ludicrous going the other way, and everybody knows that. But I think it makes for fun fights, MMA fighters going into boxing.”
“I personally like the Jake Paul versus MMA fighters, I know he lost to Tommy Fury— I don’t know if they’re rumors or what but I think there’s rumors of him fighting Jorge Masvidal, I think that’s a big selling fight if that’s true.”
Askham understands that some people don’t exactly love what Paul is doing, but added that “if you’re getting bums on seats, why not?” And if the right offer came along for himself to box, “I’d try it, 100%,” said Askham. “I’m in the prizefighting game, and I’m here to make as much money as I can before I retire. So I can’t see why not.”
Of course, first up is Scott Askham’s Oktagon MMA debut, an opportunity he jumped at to be able to fight at home in England. “I’m still under contract with KSW at the moment, but Oktagon have given me a massive opportunity to fight at home, so I’m excited to be part of that,” Askham noted. The former KSW champ will happily fight for both promotions if the opportunities keep coming, and is looking to get back to his winning ways after a second loss to Mamed Khalidov earlier this year.
At Oktagon 48 in Manchester, the former KSW and BAMMA middleweight champ will essentially be fighting at light heavyweight (technically a 204 pound catchweight) due to how last-minute the fight came together. His opponent, Marc Doussis, is a fighter he respects — but Askham is keeping the focus on himself.
“I watched a bit of tape on him. Not too much. I’m focused on myself rather than focused on him. Ultimately it’s been a long time since I’ve had a win. I’ve been out injured for two and a half years, I came straight back into a big fight. So I’m taking him serious, and not underestimating him at all.”
As soon as Askham got the booking, he flew out to American Top Team in Florida for a condensed training camp. “I’m going to do everything that I can to get the job done. I definitely think there’s a skill advantage in my favor, I mean that respectfully from watching his fights. He definitely hasn’t fought anybody on my level. I’m excited for the fight.”
Scott Askham faces Marc Doussis at Oktagon 48 on November 4, 2023 at the AO Arena in Manchester, England.