UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou has been in the boxing headlines recently, stemming from a bit of a back-and-forth with Dillian Whyte.
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has even said the chatter has picked up so much buzz that he’ll be calling UFC President Dana White to discuss possibilities for making that fight a possibility. It still seems unlikely, but never say never.
Joe Joyce has sparred with Ngannou in the past, straight boxing, and manager Sam Jones told Sky about the session, and says Ngannou may be more than meets the eye in boxing:
“Let me tell you something about Ngannou — he can box at a high level. ... Ngannou was standing in a weird stance. Then just stood upright and started throwing huge bombs at Joe’s head! It took Joe a round to work him out. Ngannou and Joe went eight rounds of holding their feet. It was the most entertaining spar I’ve ever seen Joe in. The hairs on the back of the neck stood up.”
Jones also called Ngannou “one of the strongest men you will ever see in any combat sport,” and, I mean, there’s this to back up the claims about Ngannou’s pure strength:
.@Shaq you're not so heavy as I thought that's probably why you could fly on the court pic.twitter.com/oUJmVpyYB1— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) April 17, 2020
Ngannou coming into boxing to face someone of Whyte’s caliber straight off is still a really big ask, even considering nobody really doubts his strength or raw punching power. It’s a whole different ballgame on the technical side, and Whyte wouldn’t be approaching it as sparring, the way Joyce did, at least at first by Jones’ telling of the tale.
But certainly, yes, Ngannou is a warrior and a great athlete. And this sort of statement from someone in boxing could only serve to fuel the fire.