There’s been a lot of talk about a potential crossover battle between boxing contender Dillian Whyte and UFC contender Francis Ngannou, and former boxing titleholder and current Sky Sports pundit Tony Bellew weighed in on the idea in an interview with Sky Sports.
Bellew believes style-wise, it could be an intriguing, “who lands first” sort of fight if it took place in mixed martial arts. But in boxing, he doesn’t see Ngannou having a prayer.
“Francis Ngannou stands absolutely zero chance in a boxing ring,” Bellew said. “It’s a completely different sport with a completely different set of rules, totally different technique. Boxing is so different than MMA. Francis Ngannou does not stand a single hope in a boxing ring whatsoever.
“In a cage, I’d probably make it 60/40 in Ngannou’s favor, purely and only because he’s got the experience with them small gloves on. That would be the only reason I would give him that slight advantage. But Dillian is such a competent fighter and is also a massively improved fighter. He’s not 18 years old anymore, swinging for the lights like he was in that cage fight that I’ve seen. He is now an established, ready-to-be world champion of his own. He’s probably the most improved heavyweight in world boxing since his loss to AJ. He’s rebounded fantastically.”
Generally speaking, I’d agree with Tony’s take, and I expect most would, too. Whyte has said that if he met Ngannou in the cage, he’d expect Ngannou to take him down. While Bellew notes that Ngannou is not known for his wrestling or ground game in MMA, he certainly has more training there than Dillian Whyte, and it would probably be smart to not give Whyte any chances standing up, though Ngannou packs a punch himself.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has said he’ll be in touch with UFC President Dana White about the potential to do a fight or two, maybe one on each stage.