Eddie Hearn believes Francis Ngannou cannot compete on a technical level with any professional heavyweight boxer ranked in the top twenty.
The former UFC heavyweight champion is expected to make his pro boxing debut before the end of 2023 after walking away from a $7 million dollar offer from the Las Vegas-based fight promotion. ‘The Predator’ is banking on himself to cash in for his first foray inside the squared circle, reportedly seeking upwards of $30 million for a single fight. Multiple names have been thrown around as potential opponents, but after what he observed this weekend, renowned MMA journalist Ariel Helwani believes Ngannou could give heavyweight standout Anthony Joshua a run for his money.
Joshua got back into the win column against Jermaine Franklin on Saturday night despite a lackluster performance. “Francis Ngannou can beat this guy,” Helwani told Eddie Hearn during Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour. “This isn’t the craziest thought.”
Ariel tells Eddie Hearn that his biggest takeaway from Anthony Joshua’s performance this weekend was that…
“Francis Ngannou can beat this guy. This isn’t the craziest thought.”
Eddie Hearn responds…@arielhelwani / @EddieHearn #TheMMAHour pic.twitter.com/0drf0CMplv
— AFeldmanMMA (@afeldMMA) April 3, 2023
Eddie Hearn Only Sees One Path to Victory For Francis Ngannou in the Squared Circle
While the famed British boxing promoter agreed that Anthony Joshua would probably be the most favorable matchup for Francis Ngannou, Eddie Hearn quickly laughed off the idea that ‘The Predator’ could legitimately compete with any pro boxer in the top twenty.
“You cannot in a million years, with Francis Ngannou’s ability in boxing and pedigree in boxing, go in and compete technically [or] skill-wise. Not just with AJ, but with any top-twenty heavyweight in the world, but in that division, what the difference is, what you can do is you can knock someone out. So it doesn’t matter whether Francis fights Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, and I agree with you. Fury is a horrible fight for Francis Ngannou cause he’d just poke him around.
“Deontay Wilder, Dillian Whyte, Derek Chisora, Jermaine Franklin. He has no chance against those guys other than to be aggressive, trade up, and catch someone clean and take the out. I think you’re right in your statement that people would give Francis a much better chance against AJ having watched that performance in your world.”
Of the two names that have been thrown out by Ngannou, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder are the most likely for his first pro boxing bout. While attempting to negotiate his debut in the sweet science, ‘The Predator’ also revealed that he is on the verge of signing with either the PFL or ONE Championship.