Anthony Joshua’s Promoter Would ‘Love To Do Something’ With Ngannou

UFC 270: Ngannou v Gane
Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

While there’s no date or opponent for Francis Ngannou’s boxing debut, several promoters including Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn are still interested in doing something with ‘The Predator.’

While news of Francis Ngannou’s move into boxing has slowed down to a trickle, there’s still a lot of interest amongst promoters representing top names in the sport.

After a year of negotiations that went nowhere, Ngannou left the UFC at the start of 2023. With Dana White calling Francis “impossible to deal with with” and BKFC saying he wants “unrealistic money,” critics are starting to wonder whether “The Predator” is handling his career wisely.

He’s still got options, though, and that includes a high profile fight against Anthony Joshua. Joshua just fought to an uninspired decision win over Jermaine Franklin at the start of April. His promoter Eddie Hearn is looking to get him firing on all cylinders before a rumored Tyson Fury fight at the end of the year, and Francis Ngannou could be the opponent to accomplish that.

“People would give fighters a much better chance against AJ having watched that performance,” Hearn said on a recent episode of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “In your world, that translates to Francis Ngannou. And why not? I don’t feel like it’s a fight that’s going to continue the development of Anthony Joshua under his new trainer, but I’d [recently] done lunch with Francis Ngannou. You know his story.

“I was completely gobsmacked by the story of this man. We sat for two hours, and I was just listening to just the most remarkable — I mean, how this isn’t a film, I have no idea. Unbelievable. I’m thinking, ‘Please let me go to Hollywood now with you and sell this film.’ People need to be educated about what that man has been through, and his story to get to where he’s got to. I found him fascinating. Lovely guy, lovely guy, and I’d love to do something.”

Hearn has never dressed up a potential Ngannou boxing fight as anything other than a curiosity: can the UFC heavyweight champion win infamous KO power land on a top boxing heavyweight?

“You cannot in a million years, with Francis Ngannou’s ability in boxing and pedigree in boxing, go in and compete technically, skill-wise,” Hearn said. “Not just with A.J., but with any top-20 heavyweight in the world. But in that division the difference is what you can do is you could knock someone out.

“So it doesn’t matter whether Francis fights Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury — I agree with you, horrible fight for Francis Ngannou because he’d he just poke him around — Deontay Wilder, Dillian Whyte, Derek Chisora, Jermaine Franklin. He has no chance against those guys, other than to be aggressive, trade up, and catch someone clean and take him out.”

Francis Ngannou seems content to continue training and wait for the right fight to fall into place. Sooner or later, one of the top heavyweights in the boxing world will be too tempted by the big pile of suspiciously easy money. And then we’ll see if the amount of money Ngannou makes in the ring was worth burning his bridges with the UFC.

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