Francis Ngannou still doesn’t have a big money boxing fight lined up for 2023. But according to Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn, there are rumors that he was offered a spot on the big Saudi Arabia boxing superfight card in December.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of this December event. Skill Challenge Saudi Arabia is looking to have Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk and Deontay Wilder vs. Anthony Joshua on the same night. And now it sounds like they’re open to adding Francis Ngannou vs. Derek Chisora to the card.
“There are rumors for a third fight for that night in December which could be Ngannou vs. Chisora,” Hearn said on the latest episode of The MMA Hour. “I actually quite like that fight because I don’t see Francis being competitive against Tyson or ‘AJ’ but more competitive against Chisora.”
Would the former UFC heavyweight champion be interested in that fight? Chisora is 1-4 over his last five fights, although he’s been fighting the likes of Fury and Usyk in those defeats. It’s still a step down from Ngnanou’s stated goal of fighting the best heavyweight boxers out there, and we know how “The Predator” is about sticking to his plans no matter what.
Asked if the boxing world was pushing Ngannou out, Hearn laid out why a big fight was so hard to come by.
“I speak on behalf of Anthony Joshua, and I say that loosely because he’s the boss,” he said. “I sat down with Francis, as you know, and I spoke to Anthony about the fight. And just the stage that he’s at in his boxing career, he’s chasing greatness. He wants to beat Wilder, he wants to fight Fury for the world title.
“When I brought up the Ngannou fight, he was like [makes disappointed face]. Which I thought might go different, in terms of that conversation. But he just wasn’t really interested because he’s got business to take care of in this sport.”
“Fury would fight Ngannou,” Hearn continued. “But I think the problem is the only place where you can generate the kind of money that both of those fighters think it’s worth is in the Middle East. And once the Middle East says no, the market’s dead for that fight. They must have [said no], because I’m sure it’s been discussed and pitched.”
They may have said no because the real fight to make right now is Fury vs. Usyk. And then you have Fury vs. Joshua right there. There’s just a good number of money fights you can make with the four top heavyweights all ready to round-robin for Saudi money. Why go the freakshow fight route when you can make history and earn titles fighting the most exciting slate of heavyweights the sport has seen in years?