A prominent heavyweight boxing veteran is willing to grant former UFC champion Francis Ngannou his wish for a match inside the ring.
Prior to MMA Factory coach Fernand Lopez spotting his potential as a mixed martial artist, Ngannou boasted dreams of becoming a professional pugilist. That ambition was so strong that it even saw the Cameroon native complete a dangerous journey from Africa to Europe in pursuit of a career in the sport.
With that in mind, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Ngannou’s boxing dream has reared its head again in recent years. After winning the UFC heavyweight title with a knockout of Stipe Miocic, “The Predator” wasted little time in outlining his plans, later going as far as to claim he wouldn’t sign a new deal with the MMA leader unless it granted him freedom to box.
Ngannou ultimately stayed true to his word, relinquishing the belt and departing the UFC this past weekend after turning down the organization’s final offer. With that, talk has turned to what’s next for one of combat sports’ hardest hitters.
In the eyes of many, that’s boxing.
Throughout 2022, the main topic regarding Ngannou’s future surrounded a possible crossover clash with WBC Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury. As well as the pair going face to face following the Brit’s victory over Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium, “The Gyspy King” went as far as to provide a 2023 timeframe for the clash at one point.
But while Ngannou’s unrestricted free agency has opened the door for that matchup to happen, Fury currently appears preoccupied having set his sights back on his boxing career, and in particular, a unification showdown with Oleksandr Usyk.
With that, “The Predator” may need to look elsewhere if he’s hoping to lace the boxing gloves relatively soon. Fortunately, one recent heavyweight title challenger is down to scrap — in more ways than one…
Heavyweight Pro Derek Chisora Seeks Two-Fight Deal With Francis Ngannou
During a recent Instagram Live session, British heavyweight Derek Chisora revealed his desire to not just share the ring with Francis Ngannou, but the cage too.
“I’m trying to fight Ngannou,” Chisora said. “I want to do it in the UFC and boxing.”
The comment is similar to the offer Jake Paul sent Nate Diaz following his signing with the Professional Fighters League. “The Problem Child” proposed a deal that would see the pair collide in MMA six months after a showdown in-between the ropes.
For both heavyweights, the stipulation would represent a taste of a new sport. While Ngannou hasn’t fought professionally as a pugilist, Chisora has fought his entire combat career inside the ring.
Despite his inexperience in the squared circle, though, many would acknowledge that Chisora represents a more winnable bout than Fury. In his most recent outing, “Del Boy” was knocked out by “The Gyspy King,” a result that marked his fourth loss in five fights.
While Chisora is a former British, Commonwealth, and European champion, as well as a two-time WBC heavyweight title challenger, the 39-year-old is considered to be at the back end of his career.
Given Ngannou’s immense knockout power, which once helped him clock the hardest recorded punch of all time, “The Predator” might fancy his chances of a winning start in the ring should a matchup with the Brit come to fruition.