In a controversial split decision Saturday night, Francis Ngannou, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion, lost his boxing debut to the WBC Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury. Despite what the judges’ scorecards read, an overwhelming number of fans and fighters believe Ngannou did enough to win the fight.
Matchroom boxing President Eddie Hearn told Ariel Helwani that he absolutely thinks Francis won the fight and also speculated that Fury may have regressed between his fight with Derek Chisora and his fight with Francis Ngannou, Saturday night.
Regardless of the result, Ngannou’s performance against Fury in Saudi Arabia was nothing short of impressive. Despite being a newcomer to professional boxing, Francis Ngannou managed to score a knockdown over Fury in the third round with a perfectly timed left hook. For fighting the #1 Heavyweight in the world, Francis looked incredible, winning several rounds and avoiding any major damage in the fight.
What's next for Francis Ngannou?
After leaving the UFC, the future of Francis’ career was very unclear and whether he made the right decision was a very polar subject within the combat sports world. Now, Ngannou has established himself as a formidable boxer (to say the least) and an MMA superstar. He made around $10 million according to Tyson Fury and now there are endless possibilities. Here are a few:
1. Rematch with Tyson Fury
Given the controversy surrounding the scorecards and how close the bout was, a rematch with Fury seems warranted. In terms of heavyweight boxing, you usually want to see one of the fighters walk away with a definitive victory, and that didn’t happen Saturday night. In a rematch, Fury’s WBC Heavyweight Championship will likely be on the line giving Ngannou a chance to become a world champion in just 2 professional fights. Unfortunately for Francis, Fury has obligations to unify the Heavyweight Championships with Oleksandr Usyk.
2. Boxing Match with Anthony Joshua
Another path in the boxing world could be a match against Anthony Joshua. Eddie Hearn has publically called for this fight multiple times since Saturday, as he now sees the value in promoting a fight involving Francis Ngannou. Anthony Joshua could use the potential victory to regain more momentum following his knockout victory over Robert Helenius.
3. MMA Match with Deontay Wilder:
A return to the MMA for a match against Deontay Wilder could be another exciting move for Ngannou. Ngannou claims Wilder has been training MMA for months and there has been talks of making the matchup happen.
4. MMA Match in the PFL:
Lastly, Ngannou could also compete in the Professional Fighters League (PFL). Since signing to the PFL, there have been talks of a PPV featuring Claressa Shields, Kayla Harrison, Francis Ngannou, Jake Paul, and more.
Regardless of the path he chooses, Ngannou’s journey in the world of combat sports is far from over. His performance against Fury has shown that he can hold his own in the boxing ring, sparking intrigue about his future endeavors. As we wait to see what’s next for Ngannou, one thing is certain – his next move will be one to watch.
(Featured image source: https://www.bbc.com/sport/live/boxing/66595501)