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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Dueñes

Francis Ngannou Deserves a Chance from Boxing Fans

Francis Ngannou fights Tyson Fury Oct. 2023

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Matchroom Boxing recently announced Francis Ngannou's highly anticipated return to the boxing ring, now against former Olympic medalist Anthony Joshua, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

With that, followed the collective groan amongst boxing purists, who feel Ngannou is but another performer in the circus of recent MMA/boxing crossovers. I'm not here to argue Ngannou's boxing record. What I will suggest, is to give Ngannou's the opportunity to not leave it to the judges like he did against Fury and change your perspective on what could be potential fight/ko of the year this upcoming March.

Francis Ngannou's penchant to leave lifeless bodies in a heap in the middle of an arena catapulted him into the international spotlight. His previous stage was the UFC's Octagon (MMA 17-3-1), where he racked up 16 finishes. Ngannou brutally KO'd, TKO'd, and even submitted some of the planet's best strikers in front of millions. Given Joshua's previous trips to the canvas against former opponents, it is likely Ngannou catches Joshua in a similar way he caught Fury last October.

To recognize Ngannou's versability, we can dive into his resume. The Cameroonian heavyweight defeated heavy-handed former title-holding strikers like Stipe Miocic and Junior Dos Santos, and world class kickboxing champions like Ciryl Gane and Alistair Overeem. Ngannou has overcome the most devastating kicks and heaviest punches to prove the warrior spirit needed to earn the instant headliner spot. He doesn't fold under pressure; he rises and overcomes.

The multi-time headliner carried the UFC's heavyweight division on his shoulders for years. Now, Ngannou is bringing those heavy hands and championship clout with him to the boxing ring, holding a clear knockdown against arguably the greatest modern heavyweight champion in Tyson Fury. A closely contested first bout was an impactful way to start his boxing career after migrating from UFC, and we can expect more great exchanges with Joshua, who has earned back-to-back victories since his double defeat against Oleksandr Usyk.

While I am obviously rooting for the underdog, especially following the controversial loss to Fury, this is the type of matchup that can benefit Joshua. At 27 victories, three losses in and 25 KOs, it is in Joshua's best interest to appear as one of the divisions biggest threats again. What better way to do it than to dispose of someone who gave hone of his biggest critics a run for their money?

Should Joshua really be back in his game, beating Ngannou can solidify his return. Though while Joshua looks to have the better skillset and ring IQ, but Ngannou has the power. That alone could prove a recipe for disaster for Joshua, who can once-again end up throwing belts over the ropes and singing "hip-hip hooray!"



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