Reality Cheque: Should Francis Ngannou box again?

By Elliot Worsell

It is quite possible that Francis Ngannou’s boxing skills were knocked out of him by the final right hand from Anthony Joshua on Friday (March 8). However, there will still be a push for him to continue in the sport. Ngannou, just six months ago, was fighting with Tyson Fury and was considered the most dangerous puncher in the heavyweight division. He is now a boxing celebrity, but his recent loss to Joshua may be a reality check for him.

Despite the loss, there are tempting opportunities for Ngannou to continue in the sport. Even Joshua expressed interest in seeing Ngannou continue in boxing after their fight. However, at almost 38 years old and with a history of wear and tear on his body from mixed martial arts, continuing at this level may not be the best option for Ngannou.

Anthony Joshua lands a huge right hand on Francis Ngannou at the Kingdom Arena on March 8, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Richard Pelham/Getty Images)

Returning to the ring too soon may not be the best choice for Ngannou. He may still be a fan favorite, but facing other heavyweights may not be beneficial for his career. His recent loss to Joshua has shattered his mystique, and fighting at the same level may not be the best option.

Ngannou is left unconscious following a Joshua right hand (Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing)


Zone A: Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua

Appeal: Financially, fighting in this zone had its appeal when Ngannou was close to defeating Fury. However, after the loss to Joshua, the appeal is reduced. Usyk would also pose a challenge for Ngannou if they were to fight.

Danger: Ngannou faced brutal defeat by Joshua and a fight with Usyk would be equally challenging. Each opponent in this zone poses its own threat.

Oleksandr Usyk in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Zone B: Joseph Parker, Filip Hrgovic, Zhilei Zhang, Deontay Wilder, Andy Ruiz

Appeal: These opponents may not bring the same financial rewards as Fury and Joshua, but Ngannou may have a better chance of winning against them. However, the danger still exists, especially in fights against Wilder.

Danger: Depending on the opponent, Ngannou could face a violent defeat. While these names are big enough to attract some attention, they would likely not be main event fights.

Joseph Parker (Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing)

Zone C: Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois, Otto Wallin, Luis Ortiz

Appeal: These fights may not draw much attention, but they could serve as a good test for Ngannou. At 37, he doesn’t have time to build his way up slowly, so facing these opponents can help gauge his skills as a pro boxer.

Danger: Ngannou will face a different level of danger in Zone C, but he may have a better chance of winning and making progress in his boxing career. Being selective in his opponents is key to changing that zero in his record.

Joe Joyce prior to facing Zhilei Zhang in April 2023 (James Chance/Getty Images)

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