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Sorry, Francis Ngannou! Deontay Wilder’s trainer dubs Andy Ruiz ‘the buzz fight right now’

Wilder may be willing to hype up a potential fight with Ngannou, but his trainer doesn’t even have the UFC heavyweight champion on his radar.

2023 PFL 4 Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Deontay Wilder may have room for one more fight before he takes on Anthony Joshua in December, but it sounds like Francis Ngannou isn’t the guy his team is looking at.

Deontay Wilder created a lot of buzz in the mixed martial arts (MMA) world when he showed up at a PFL event to talk up a potential two fight cross-sport deal with Francis Ngannou. But, that will have to wait as his trainer says “The Bronze Bomber” may fight former Heavyweight champion, Andy Ruiz, next.

Ruiz jumped into another league of fame by beating Anthony Joshua in 2019, ending Joshua’s days as an undefeated fighter and taking his IBF, WBA, and WBO belts. “AJ” would beat Ruiz in a rematch six months later. Since then, Ruiz has won decisions over Chris Arreola and Luis Ortiz. According to Wilder’s trainer Malik Scott, he’s the perfect opponent to get Deontay ready for Joshua at the end of the year.

“That’s the buzz fight right now,” Scott said in an interview with ES Sports. “And it’s looking like that might be the route we end up going.

“Deontay is in the position where so many big fights are lined up that anything or any opponent can possibly change,” he continued. “Andy Ruiz is definitely one of the main options right now and we’ll see where it lands at. In my opinion I’d like to see it at the Crypto Center and I like Vegas. We’ll see what happens, we’ve still got Anthony Joshua on the menu – all of them on the menu. Ruiz, Joshua, Usyk, and they all will get the same treatment. Big fights and exciting times.”

Not included in the list of opponents is Ngannou, who has been hunting for a big money boxing bout against a top Heavyweight, but has been having trouble getting anyone near a contract. One big roadblock is a December night of “super” fights in Saudi Arabia, where the hope is to have Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk and Deontay Wilder vs. Anthony Joshua on the same blockbuster pay-per-view (PPV) card.

With a collective pool of purses worth a reported $400 million up for grabs, the big four — Fury, Joshua, Wilder and Usyk — are all trying to stay active through the late summer while not potentially messing up the massive Saudi payday.

Wilder has been the most vocal potential opponent for Ngannou, but even he isn’t looking to jump into the ring with the former UFC Heavyweight champion before 2024. That means we’re looking at several more months before we’ll see the return of “The Predator” ... in the ring or in the cage.

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