Tom Aspinall is wading into the debate on Francis Ngannou’s chances against the world’s top heavyweight boxers.
Ngannou walked away from the UFC a free agent at the start of 2023, and has since signed a big money deal to compete for the PFL in MMA. As for boxing, “The Predator” is hoping to secure a fight against one of the top names of the sport: Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, or Deontay Wilder.
Joshua has called the idea a gimmick, and Fury no longer seems interested in the fight. But Wilder has expressed some interest in going toe to toe with Ngannou, and Aspinall believes that’s the one match-up Francis could win.
“I would love to see him against Wilder, because it’s just two f—ing massive guys who can punch holes through walls,” he said in an interview with JN Media. “It’s ridiculous. I’d love to see that.”
“If there’s anybody he could beat, it would be Wilder,” Aspinall added. “Because Wilder is ... and I don’t want to slag the guy off, because he’s one of the hardest punchers ever. But as far as actual boxing ability, his level is way lower than an Usyk or Tyson Fury or someone like that.
“The guy’s punching power is off the charts, absolutely ridiculous, out of this world. But I think he’s quite hittable and his fight IQ doesn’t see to be, like, great. I think if there’s any of em who [Ngannou] could beat, it would be Wilder.”
Tom Aspinall is a guy who knows a little about what it’s like to be in the ring with top boxing heavyweights. Despite being known for his grappling chops in the UFC, Aspinall spent time as a Tyson Fury sparring partner back when “The Gypsy King” was returning from a depression-related break from the sport. Fury’s father even suggested Aspinall could be the first MMA fighter to cross over and accomplish big things in the boxing world.
For now, Aspinall is fully focused on his MMA career. The British fighter blew out his knee early into his last fight against Curtis Blaydes, leading to a yearlong pause. Now he’s set to fight Marcin Tybura at the next UFC London event on July 22nd. According to Aspinall, Tybura was the only heavyweight willing to face him.
“Basically there’s no one else,” he said. “At first they weren’t keen on having him as main event. They asked some other guys who were free as well, they turned it down. So they had no choice but to do my ol’ mate Tybura.”
“I like the guy, but I’ve worked way too hard and come back from too much to f—ing give it up to someone I like. This is a different mentality coming in. I like the guy, but unfortunately he’s in my way big time and I’m going to treat him as such and come in there with everything I’ve got.”
Aspinall was on a five fight win streak with the UFC before his knee blew out against Blaydes. No odds have been released for his London fight against Tybura, but we expect he’ll be a heavy favorite in his return.