Anthony Joshua in shock talks to face ex-UFC champion as he targets stunning cross-combat fight

EDDIE HEARN met for talks over lunch with ex-UFC champion Francis Ngannouu – paving the way for a fight with Anthony Joshua.

Ngannou is a free agent having walked out on the UFC without losing his belt following a breakdown in negotiations to extend his contact.

And the Cameroonian has set his sights on a lucrative switch to boxing, having been linked with the sport’s top stars.

Joshua – who beat Jermaine Franklin on points in his return fight under new trainer Derrick James – is among those,

Hearn said The MMA Hour: “People would give fighters a much better chance against AJ having watched that performance. In your world, that translates to Francis Ngannou. And why not?

“I don’t feel like it’s a fight that’s going to continue the development of Anthony Joshua under his new trainer, but I’d done lunch with Francis Ngannou. You know his story.

“I was completely gobsmacked by the story of this man. We sat for two hours, and I was just listening to just the most remarkable — I mean, how this isn’t a film, I have no idea.

“Unbelievable. I’m thinking, ‘Please let me go to Hollywood now with you and sell this film.’

“People need to be educated about what that man has been through, and his story to get to where he’s got to.

“I found him fascinating. Lovely guy, lovely guy, and I’d love to do something.”

Ngannou, 36, overcame poverty in his homeland before emigrating to France in pursuit of a fighting career.

And having found it easier to find bouts in MMA opposed to boxing, the heavyweight transitioned sports and was later signed by the UFC.

Ngannou went on to win the UFC title in 2021, making one defence before vacating after walking out on the promotion.

Tyson Fury, 34, and Deontay Wilder, 37, are among the other alternatives for the African star in boxing.

And Hearn admitted Ngannou carries a puncher’s chance when he does swap the cage for the ring.

He said: “You cannot in a million years, with Francis Ngannou’s ability in boxing and pedigree in boxing, go in and compete technically, skill-wise.

“Not just with AJ but with any top-20 heavyweight in the world. But in that division the difference is what you can do is you could knock someone out.

“So it doesn’t matter whether Francis fights Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury — I agree with you, horrible fight for Francis Ngannou because he’d he just poke him around — Deontay Wilder, Dillian Whyte, Derek Chisora, Jermaine Franklin.

“He has no chance against those guys, other than to be aggressive, trade up, and catch someone clean and take him out.”

Anthony Joshua in shock talks to face ex-UFC champion as he targets stunning cross-combat fight | The Sun

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