Francis Ngannou has wasted no time in making his interest in boxing known – and he wants to head straight for the top.
The MMA heavyweight champion was recently released from his UFC contract after a prolonged negotiation period with the organisation.
President Dana White said that what was on the table would have made Ngannou the highest paid that division has ever seen, however the fighter claims that there were certain things he requested – health insurance and outside sponsorship to name a couple – that were refused.
Now a free agent, the Cameroon-born combat star is looking at a campaign in the pro boxing ranks, and he’s reignited a previously discussed bout with Tyson Fury as his first target.
He told Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour that the fight couldn’t be made before – likely due to his contract with the UFC – but that he was ready now.
“I don’t know. I think he retired, come back, wants to fight Usyk and all [that] stuff. I don’t know where he’s at right now, but I’m gonna find out. It’s the time. Before, [we] couldn’t do anything concrete. Now, we can engage it up. Do everything. So it’s time to really figure that out.”
When he entered the ring back in April following Fury’s knockout victory over Dillian Whyte, the talk was apparently about some sort of fighting hybrid between MMA and boxing. Ngannou said that he would do anything, as long as it’s Fury in the other corner.
“Whatever it is, if it’s with Tyson Fury I will take it. I have no problem doing boxing with 4 ounce gloves. We were talking about something a little hybrid. Maybe the 4 ounce gloves, maybe inside the cage. I don’t know – we will figure it out.”
Finally, asked if there were any other names on his list for his first boxing match, Ngannou named Fury’s countryman and former unified champion, Anthony Joshua.
Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, is a self-proclaimed fan of the former UFC champion, previously talking up a potential fight between him and another heavyweight he represents, Dillian Whyte.
It’s only been a matter of days since Ngannou has found himself in a position to negotiate a grand entrance into boxing, so there’s nothing set now and likely won’t be for a while. There’s little doubt though that the big names will be interested.