One fight into his boxing career, Francis Ngannou is now considered one of the best heavyweights in the world by the World Boxing Council.
The former UFC Heavyweight Champion was given little to no chance against Tyson Fury in their Saudi Arabia crossover spectacle.
He proved fans, fighters and pundits wrong when he dropped the Morecambe man in the third round and displayed impressive boxing throughout – albeit aided by an off-form Fury.
The WBC controversially sanctioned the fight even despite Fury being its active heavyweight champion but not putting his belt on the line.
Sulaiman – who said he would make a recommendation to the ratings committee – has came good on his promise to Cooper, with the 37-year-old landing at number 10 in the latest round of updates.
Francis Ngannou did an outstanding job against the WBC Heavyweight Champion and the WBC Board of Governors has agreed to rank him as No. 10 in the Heavyweight division.@francisngannou#wbcboxing#wbcuzbekistan23pic.twitter.com/mXjhiRS9Vt
— World Boxing Council (@WBCBoxing) November 15, 2023
It puts him alongside the likes of Joseph Parker, Martin Bakole and Filip Hrgovic, and must mark the first time a professional debut – and a loss at that – has found somebody rated as one of the best in the world. The full rankings update, which will show who was bumped out of the top ten, is expected soon.
Boxing fans – and more importantly the top contenders who have long, punishing careers – will likely have a bitter taste at the development.
Should Fury and Ngannou rematch down the line – something the newly ranked contender has said he is waiting for – and the Brit still has a hold of his world title, Ngannou would be an official challenger that time around.