MMA megastar Francis Ngannou opens up on Deontay Wilder fight deal
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Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou says the prospect of a showpiece clash with Deontay Wilder is starting to seem like a reality after confirming discussions have taken place with the former boxing champ.
The 36-year-old is a free agent after parting ways with UFC in January and has kept fans waiting with bated breath to see which opponent he could tempt into a monster bout.
Speaking to TMZ Sport this week Ngannou confirmed the speculation that he and Wilder could face off in the ring and even teased a multi-fight deal with at least one bout taking place in Africa.
“We’re looking into [Deontay Wilder] because he’s available,” Ngannou said. “He’s ready for that, excited for it. He wants it.
“It’s something that I’m very excited about, we even discussed the potential of one fight in Africa and one fight somewhere else. Or why not even the two fights in Africa?
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“So we will see but the work is in the process.”
The Cameroonian-French fighter built his brand on his unparalleled punching power, much like his slated future opponent Wilder, who has won 42 of his 46 fights by knockout. Ngannou, who boasts a similar, if slightly less impressive KO record in MMA, backed himself to finish any fight early but admitted an all-out slug-fest might not be the best way to best the experienced American boxer.
“I can knock anybody out,” he continued. “ But to hit that person you have to have a clean shot which is more about technique and experience that I don’t have.
“So I’m very aware of that aspect. It’s not like ‘hit me, I hit you and then we see who goes down.’ It’s a combat sport so everyone is trying to not get hit. I’m thinking more about the technique or the boxing side of it.
“Then at the end, if you get an opportunity to connect then good. If not, I’m still expecting to win that fight in the decision so that’s how I’m preparing myself.”
Ngannou’s last fight came over a year ago when he beat Ciryl Gane by unanimous decision in January 2022 while Wilder is coming off a first round knockout victory over Robert Helenius in October.
The ex-UFC star wouldn’t be drawn on an exact date for the highly anticipated clash but reassured fight fans they’ll not have to wait much longer for the showdown, adding: “This summer is very realistic.”
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