Fans are interested in seeing heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) take on UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou (15-3) in a boxing match or inside the cage. Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn says he’s going to talk to UFC president Dana White about putting together a fight between Ngannou and Whyte for later this year.
Hearn wants to hammer out the details of whether Whyte, 32, and Ngannou should fight inside a boxing ring or in the octagon. He’s even interested in switching things up with the fight alternating between MMA and Boxing rules.
That probably won’t work though, as Ngannou is a limited fighter in terms of his boxing ability. Whyte would very likely knock him out immediately in a stand-up fight held under the traditional boxing rules.
Before Whyte can face Ngannou, he still has Alexander Povetkin that he needs to face behind closed doors. Hearn wants to have the Whyte vs. Povetkin fight take place at the Matchroom Boxing headquarters in the UK.
Whyte is expected to beat the 40-year-old Povetkin, but if he doesn’t, then that could make it risky for him to face Ngannou in his next fight. Losing two fights in a row would be a terrible blow for Whyte’s career, and he could be finished after that.
HUGE interest in Whyte vs. Ngannou fight
“There’s not just interest online, there’s huge interest everywhere for that fight,” said Hearn to Sky Sports Boxing on a fight between Whyte and Francis Ngannou. “When I first started discussing it, people from both disciplines were saying, ‘Whyte against Ngannou is a cracker.’
“I’m starting to receive a lot of interest from numerous people about staging that fight right now. I think it does colossal numbers,” said hearn on the Whyte vs. Ngannou fight. “I think it’s the first genuine crossover fight. I know we had Floyd [Mayweather Jr.] and Conor [McGregor], but this is a different kind of fight.
“This is a different kind of experience,” said Hearn on the possibility of scheduling a Whyte-Ngannou clash. “This is brutality at it’s absolute rawest, and this fight does huge intrigue, and it’s got everything.
“I never thought we would take this too seriously, but in the last week, we have to take it seriously,” said Hearn on the Whyte vs. Ngannou fight.
Hearn is going a little overboard in saying there’s a huge interest in the Whyte-Ngannou fight. Some of the British boxing fans are interested in the fight, but the Americans aren’t bothered.
If Ngannou wants to fight a boxer, he needs to be aiming a little higher Whyte, who doesn’t have a real belt aside from his interim WBC heavyweight strap. That’s not considered a true belt in the eyes of boxing fans.
Ngannou should be targeting these fighters:
- Anthony Joshua
- Tyson Fury
- Deontay Wilder
- Daniel Dubois
- Oleksandr Usyk
Having seen Ngannou fight, it’s doubtful that he could hang with even the cruiserweight and light heavyweights in boxing. He’s uncoordinated in the same way Wilder is, and he looks utterly flawed on his feet. He would be easy work for light heavyweights like Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol, and Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Cruiserweight Yunier Dorticos would be a lot of problems for Ngannou as well.
Hearn looking towards the Fall for Whyte-Ngannou fight
“Obviously, [Alexander] Povetkin is next [for Whyte], but whether it’s October, November, or December, I’ll be reaching out to Dana White, saying ‘Tell me how this works?'” said Hearn.
“Can we actually do this? Are we doing it in a ring or we doing it in a cage?” said Hearn.
“Are we doing one round of each?” said Hearn on the Whyte vs. Ngannou fight.
Hearn should wait until he gets the results from Whyte’s next fight against Povetkin before he made the decision to match him against Ngannou for the fall. Like I said, if Whyte gets knocked out by Povetkin, he’s going to be putting his career on the line against Ngannou. It doesn’t matter if the fight is held inside the octagon. Whyte will still be messing up his career if he loses.
Bellew: Ngannou stands no chance against Whyte inside a boxing ring
“I think this is a great match-up, and it comes down to whoever lands first,” said Tony Bellew to Sky Sports Boxing. “It could never happen in a boxing ring. Francis Ngannou stands absolutely no chance inside a boxing ring [against Whyte].
“It’s a completely different sport with a completely different set of rules and totally different techniques. Boxing is so different than MMA. Ngannou doesn’t stand a single hope in a boxing ring whatsoever.
“In a cage, I’d probably make it 60/40 in Ngannou’s favor, purely because he’s got the experience with those small gloves on. That’s the only reason why I’d give him that small advantage.
“As I’ve said before, Dillian is such a confident fighter and is also massively than what we’ve seen. He’s not 18-years-old swinging for the lights like he was in that cage that I’ve seen him. He’s now established and ready to be a world champion on his own.
The truth of the matter is that Bellew is right about Ngannou having no chance of beating Whyte inside a boxing ring. Ngannou looks totally unskilled on his feet in his UFC matches, and the only reason he’s doing well there is because he’s facing wrestler-types, who don’t have clue one on how to box.
It takes so many years to learn all the grappling skills that the typical UFC fighter has, and they look fish out of water when they’re on their feet throwing punches. Even at his worst, Whyte would likely smash Ngannou. That’s why this fight isn’t that interesting. These two guys are competing in different sports.
Whyte has improved
“He’s come on so much,” said Bellew said of Whyte. “He’s probably the most improved heavyweight in world boxing. Since he lost to AJ, he’s taken on anyone and everyone. He’s someone that deserves a shot.
“He’s someone I enjoy watching. As I say, he reminds me of old school fighters because he fights everyone and anywhere and anytime, and he just doesn’t care, and I believe he’d go in the cage and do the exact same.
“He’d have to sprawl and get up and down quickly,” said Bellew in talking about what Whyte would need to do for him to avoid being taken down by Ngannou inside the octagon. “I’ve done it for a number of years.
“I give Dillian every chance inside the cage,” said Bellew.
Whyte has improved since his loss to Joshua in 2015, but probably not enough for him to beat him in a rematch or defeat Tyson Fury. But if you’re asking does Whyte have enough talent to beat Ngannou in a boxing match, it’s obvious that he does.