Matchroom Boxing promoter, Eddie Hearn has claimed that while former boxing world champion, Anthony Joshua is receptive to the idea of a future fight with former UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, he claims the former is currently unmoved by the matchup – one which he describes as “gimmicky” 

Ngannou, a former undisputed heavyweight champion under the banner of the UFC, made big splashes this week as the confirmation of his signature with the PFL (Professional Fighters League) was announced officially – ahead of a return to professional mixed martial arts sometime next year.

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Agreeing terms with the Peter Murray-led organization, Ngannou, who is expected to fight in professional boxing first this year before his comeback to active competition in mixed martial arts, revealed that he believed cross-over fights with former WBC heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder, and current gold holder, Tyson Fury were the two most likely debut opponents for him.

Anthony Joshua remains unfocused on potential Francis Ngannou clash

Linked with a bout against former Olympian, Joshua – who recently rebounded to winning-ways in a victory over Jermaine Franklin, Ngannou’s quest for a boxing debut may not come immediately through the Watford native, however.

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“I think the Francis Ngannou fight happens in the Middle East,” Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn told The Mac Life. “It’s a kind of – not freak shot, because Francis can box as well, but the big money comes there from the Middle East. And in August, it’s not really the time to do it [because of weather-], mainly.” 

“I spoke to A.J. (Anthony Joshua) about the fight [with Francis Ngannou],” Eddie Hearn explained. “He likes it and he gets it, but he’s very focused on his boxing career at the moment. And he doesn’t want to derail that to do something a little bit gimmicky. Even thought it is dangerous, he wants to prepare for Deontay Wilder, and I think he doesn’t feel that Ngannou would prepare him for Deontay Wilder.” (Transcribed by MMA Mania)

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Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.