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“I Said Only Boxing So He Can Keep His Limbs”: Francis Ngannou Responds to Deontay Wilder’s MMA Challenge

Published 02/18/2023, 8:00 AM EST

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The world of combat sports woke up to unsettling news last month. UFC and Heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou decided to part ways. The Cameroonian – French fighter, whose contract with the promotion ended by December, reportedly couldn’t get the UFC top brass to agree with a few of his requirements. His refusal to conform to a contract sans his demands finally compelled the promotion to release him as a “free agent.” As a result, the Heavyweight title gained during his tenure with UFC would no longer be valid.

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Now unencumbered, the thirty-six-year-old fighter, who won roughly 70% of his bouts by knockouts, seems to be making forays into boxing. Fans and followers might remember his presence at Wembley Stadium last year on April 23. Reportedly ‘The Predator’ reached the venue to discuss the possibilities of a crossover match with Tyson Fury. The idea seems to have gingered up the latter as well. There are even talks of Fury taking on Ngannou if the fight against Oleksandr Usyk caves in.

‘The Bronze Bomber’ preys on ‘The Predator’


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But Fury doesn’t seem alone in taking a chance against arguably the fiercest Heavyweight in UFC’s history. Former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is the latest caller to knock at ‘The Predator’s’ door. The thought of a Wilder-Ngannou fight might invigorate fans and followers. Some three weeks back, ‘The Bronze Bomber’ spoke to ‘Trill Boxing Talk’ about the same.

Explaining his stand, Wilder suggests that both he and Ngannou should be engaged in two fights—the first to be dedicated to boxing, while the remaining to mixed martial arts. In addition, one of the venues should preferably be a place in Africa.


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via Imago

Wilder said, “I’m still interested in that fight; I would love to do that one in Africa. I know he’s [Ngannou] doing his own thing; I’m proud of him for following his heart, doing what he feels. I’m very interested in it; let’s do it, man….

Francis Ngannou connects with Deontay Wilder

So the developments took a twist when talkSPORT’s Micheal Benson shared Francis Ngannou’s response to Deontay Wilder’s statement yesterday.

Ngannou’s reply comes in the wake of Wilder’s assertion that he, too, is an “open agent.” Though still signed up with Al Hayman’s PBC, the latter expressed interest in fighting across various platforms.

Roughly an hour before, Benson had shared an update from Wilder.


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Francis Ngannou, followed by nearly a million on Twitter, responded, “I said only boxing so he can keep his limbs like I said we will see if he’s a man of his word.

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“The Predator” fended off French Heavyweight Ciryl Gane’s challenge last January at Anaheim, California. A dominating fighter known for his devastating punches, it was the first time he won a bout based on decisions. Hence, as a free agent, a fight against big names of the day would be most suitable to retain his legacy and money-wise.


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What is your take on Ngannou’s comments? Do share your thoughts and views with us in the comments below.

Watch This Story: Boxing News Round-Up (January 31, 2023): Jake Paul Reveals Fury’s Standby Replacement, Tate Scrutinizing His Support from Prison, Wilder Set to Release a New Hit, and More



Jaideep R Unnithan

889 articles

After completing 18 years in the corporate sector, Jaideep decided to make a move out of the comfort zone and follow his heart's calling to becoming a writer. His understanding of Boxing began with Iron Mike's debut as an 18 year old in 1985. Like anyone and everyone else, he holds Muhammad Ali as the greatest, though his personal favorite remains the 'PacMan' Manny Pacquiao for his speed and sheer toughness.

Edited By: Shibu Immanuel