Eddie Hearn: Ngannou Ignored AJ Fight Request
Following Ngannou’s boxing debut against Tyson Fury, his stock increased exponentially. The former UFC heavyweight champion dropped Fury in the third round with a powerful left hook. As he did so, he continued to walk forward for the rest of the bout, taking the fight to the WBC heavyweight champion.
Despite suffering a split-decision loss, Ngannou did win the fight in some people’s eyes. In the aftermath, Ngannou was linked with a Fury rematch and fights against Deontay Wilder and Joshua. When it came to fighting Joshua, however, it seems the MMA fighter has no interest for now.
Hearn On AJ-Ngannou
“I reached out to Francis Ngannou’s team and I said, ‘Just to let you know, we’re up for discussing the Francis Ngannou [vs.] AJ fight. I never heard back from them,” Hearn
Those comments should not come as a surprise for the following reasons. Ngannou immediately targeted the Fury rematch after feeling robbed of a win. In addition, he requested that Oleksandr Usyk step aside so they could have the rematch before any potential undisputed fight. Fury and Usyk will face off for all the belts on February 17th, 2024.
The Ngannou-Fury rematch failed to play out, which was expected since boxing fans had been waiting over a year to see the Fury-Usyk fight. Ngannou had been linked with fighting on the Saudi ‘Day of Reckoning’ card on December 23rd, 2023. That failed to play out, and there are still question marks over when he makes his MMA debut in the PFL. With that being said, Hearn felt that Ngannou’s next steps had already been outlined.
Hearn On Ngannou’s Future
“So I think probably, knowing the business, I would say that probably Fury-Ngannou is almost probably agreed to post Fury-[Oleksandr] Usyk already. [Ngannou will] feel like, after that first fight, he can beat Fury, but there’s no point [in boxing non-stars] — he can really lose to anybody in the top 50 at heavyweight, so you’ve got to cash in at this point, and there’s really only three fights that cash into the levels that he will want [Fury, Joshua, or Deontay Wilder],” Hearn said
Facing Ngannou does nothing for Joshua’s legacy. The Brit’s ultimate goal has been to become a three-time world champion. Since Ngannou does not possess a belt, a fight makes no sense. Joshua is already one of the most lucrative fighters in the sport. Meanwhile, a loss to Ngannou would do more damage.
In a fight where both men could knock each other out, Joshua has more to lose. But if Joshua comes through Otto Wallin in his next fight, a big fight against Wilder could play out. And since talks over the fight between Wilder-AJ first began in 2018, that should be the immediate focus moving forward. After all, outside of Fury-Usyk, that is the biggest fight in boxing.
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