asmeil Boxing Francis Ngannou targeted on boxing, needs he confronted Jon Jones

Francis Ngannou targeted on boxing, needs he confronted Jon Jones

Francis Ngannou focused on boxing, wishes he faced Jon Jones

Brett OkamotoESPN Workers Author4 Minute Learn

Francis Ngannou: I need my subsequent struggle to be within the boxing ring

Francis Ngannou shares his ideas on who would win between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic and a possible struggle in opposition to Deontay Wilder within the boxing ring.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou says he has “made amends” together with his cut up from the promotion earlier this 12 months and is concentrated on reserving his skilled boxing debut in 2023.

Ngannou, 36, was basically stripped of the UFC heavyweight title in January, when the corporate stated it had failed to return to phrases with him on a brand new contract and would transfer the division ahead with a vacant title struggle between Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane. Jones defeated Gane through first-round submission final Saturday at UFC 285 to grow to be the undisputed champ.

In an interview with ESPN on Friday, Ngannou (17-3) stated he was not upset in any respect to see the division transfer on with out him. He has acknowledged {that a} UFC struggle in opposition to Jones will in all probability by no means occur due to the problems he has with the corporate’s contracts. Ngannou stated he is at peace with that however emphasised his view that he did the whole lot in his energy to make that struggle occur.

“For 3 years I attempted to struggle Jon Jones,” Ngannou stated. “I did the whole lot to have that struggle. I wished that struggle, however not at any price.

“There may be not a struggle on Earth I might again down for. I might go there and no matter occurs, occurs. It is the game. Jon Jones is just not the man. He may be the very best fighter ever, however he is not the man I am working away from. Nah. Not him. I might struggle Jon Jones twice a month.”

Ngannou has not fought since he defended his UFC title in opposition to Gane through unanimous resolution in January 2022. He suffered a knee harm previous to that struggle, and spent the remainder of 2022 present process and recovering from surgical procedure. He’s nonetheless rehabilitating the knee, however says he’s wholesome sufficient to simply accept a struggle at any level transferring ahead.

In line with Ngannou, talks are already underway relating to his skilled boxing debut. Though he has no boxing expertise, he expects to leap straight right into a blockbuster occasion in opposition to a marquee opponent. He has expressed curiosity in present or former champions Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua.

“My subsequent step needs to be boxing,” Ngannou stated. “I need to do one boxing match first, after which possibly return to MMA as a result of I nonetheless take pleasure in MMA. I need to do a few fights in boxing. We’re engaged on some stuff and hopefully in a month or two, I can come out with an announcement on potential struggle dates and areas. It is taking just a little longer than I anticipated however it’s coming alongside. Huge issues include time.

“I am contemplating all people [as an opponent]. I talked to [promoter] Eddie Hearn about Anthony Joshua, I do not know what is going on to occur. Essentially the most that we’ve got spoken with is Deontay Wilder’s staff. We have been having some exchanges, principally coming to some form of verbal settlement.”

Concerning his MMA future, Ngannou stated he’s conserving choices open. He confirmed he has talked with PFL, ONE Championship and, to a lesser extent, Bellator MMA.

Initially from Cameroon, Ngannou stated a private purpose is to compete in boxing or MMA in Africa. He famous that subsequent 12 months will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the well-known Rumble within the Jungle occasion between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo).

“I at all times wished to have an occasion in Africa,” Ngannou stated. “To struggle at dwelling but additionally to offer my individuals a present, a chance to see all these large occasions and provides a present to the children to imagine on this sport and allow them to know that something is feasible. I am nonetheless working to convey one thing to Africa and I’ll do this. That is my private mission.”

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