Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou isn’t interested in working his way into big fights in boxing because he feels he deserves to fight either WBC champion Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua immediately in his pro debut in the sport.
It’ll send a wrong message to the fans if Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) or Fury indulges Ngannou by giving him a fight in his pro debut, allowing him to go straight to the top without working his way there like normal prospects in boxing.
“Now, we can engage in talks and everything. It’s time,” said Francis Ngannou to Ariel Helwani’s podcast about a fight between him and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
“Primarily, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, and then Deontay Wilder, yes,” said Ngannou when asked if he’d be interested in fighting Deontay Wilder first.
“I’m the Crème de la crème too. I’m the best fighter in the world,” Ngannou said when told that the fighters he wants in boxing, Fury, Joshua & Wilder, are considered the Crème de la crème. “I am the champion, the undisputed.”
It’s one thing for an old 40-year-old Floyd Mayweather Jr at the end of his career to fight Conor McGregor in a boxing match that was shockingly sanctioned as a pro fight by the Nevada Commission, but it’s a different story for the still-young Joshua or Fury to allow Ngannou to fight them in a professional boxing match that’s sanctioned.
If this is an exhibition match, that wouldn’t be all that bad for Joshua or Fury to fight Ngannou, but not in a fight that would count on their records. You wouldn’t see an NFL team playing a High School team as part of their 17-game regular season.
Football fans would be up in arms if the NFL took on a non-professional team that wasn’t part of the league. It would hugely cheapen the sport, and the same goes for boxing.
Once you start letting guys with no experience in boxing take on the top guys in professionally sanctioned bouts, it opens the floodgates for more of this circus-level stuff.
Never mind that it would make a mockery of the sport if Fury or Joshua were to indulge him, but it would be such a terrible mismatch.
It’s excellent that Ngannou has done well against MMA-level fighters, but boxing is a different sport, and it takes a lot of time to work up to the level where a fighter can compete with elite-level fighters, even if they are flawed like AJ and on the downside of their careers.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou wants to compete against the best if he makes the jump to boxing 🥊 pic.twitter.com/YUV0MnZYLP
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) January 17, 2023