TOKYO: Bob Sapp, one of the most famous foreign MMA fighters in Japan, has praised Saudi Arabia for its sporting ambitions, which will be highlighted at the end of October when WBC Heavyweight Boxing Champion Tyson Fury takes on UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou in an exhibition match in Riyadh.
“Saudi Arabia, I tell you, it looks to be very exciting,” Sapp said in an interview with Arab News Japan. “Saudi Arabia is a powerhouse in the combat entertaining, combat sports arena. Hosting Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou is absolutely excellent. Tyson Fury is the No. 1 heavyweight in the world in boxing, Francis Ngannou is the No. 1 MMA heavyweight. This will be very big.”
Twenty years ago, Sapp was one of the most famous MMA athletes in the world, having given up NFL football for fighting. He became hugely popular in Japan both in the K-1 mixed martial arts field and as a celebrity. At the age of 50, he is still active and says he would also like to fight in the Middle East, hinting that a big fight could take place later this year.
“Who will go against Saudi Arabia or Tyson Fury vs. Ngannou?” he asked. “I think Dubai, they’ve got some very big powerhouse hitters as well and Dubai would like to compete in the arena as well.”
Sapp says negotiations are ongoing for a possible fight against a big-name fighter in an Arab country, but no deal has been confirmed yet.