N-DOWN-NOU: The WBC Dump Francis Ngannou Out Their Top 20 Heavyweights

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  • Box.Live Team
  • 2024-03-20T11:35:35Z ()
N-DOWN-NOU: The WBC Dump Francis Ngannou Out Their Top 20 Heavyweights photo
Photo Credit: Mark Robinson Photography/Matchroom

They say you’re only as good as your last fight in boxing, but a rush to judge Francis Ngannou after his first appears to have left the WBC red-faced.

In November, the WBC placed Ngannou at No. 10 in the heavyweight rankings based on his impressive boxing debut against Tyson Fury. He had recorded a stunning third-round knockdown of the undefeated WBC world champion, but he eventually lost by split decision.

This ranking for a professional novice caused quite a stir in the boxing and MMA worlds. He had received significant praise for entering the sport and competing against its alleged best heavyweight fighter.  

However, not only had he had only one professional fight, but he had also yet to record a victory. Critics thought ranking him ahead of many other proven professional boxers was unwise and unfair.

The Drop

After the former UFC champion’s devastating 2nd round knockout loss to Anthony Joshua earlier this month, the WBC quickly reassessed Ngannou’s place in the heavyweight landscape.

The WBC dropped Ngannou from 10th to 24th in their March heavyweight boxing rankings released on Tuesday.

WBC Response

In the wake of his defeat to Joshua, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman was quick to respond to criticisms of the WBC’s original ranking decision. Despite his failure to win a professional boxing fight, he backed their choice to give Ngannou a top-10 ranking.

“We go by facts, by rules and the ranking of Ngannou was perfectly supported by the WBC rules which is clear in the criteria from rankings that we consider the activity of the fighter in other contact sports.

“We have ranked so many Muay Thai fighters that convert to international boxing.” Sulaiman told Sky Sports.

Cynical observers wouldn’t have missed the WBC’s financial incentive to be the sanctioning organisation of note in a potential Fury rematch for Ngannou. They had also made his fight against Joshua an unofficial eliminator for the winner of May’s undisputed clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk

Ngannou’s Future

After his defeat to Joshua, Ngannou’s future in boxing seems uncertain and a return to MMA could be contractually due. 

After leaving the UFC, Ngannou signed a multi-fight deal with MMA promotion the Professional Fighters League (PFL) in March 2023. He has is yet to fight with them, although a return against the promotion’s heavyweight champ, Renan Ferreria, has been suggested. 

In an Instagram live broadcast on his account last week, Ngannou mentioned Ferreria but also hedged a future return to boxing.

“I don’t know exactly what fight I will be looking for next,” Ngannou said. “I’m not done with boxing, I’m not done with MMA. Basically, right now, I have an opponent now in the PFL in Renan Ferreira. That will be my future opponent in the PFL, but again, I basically have a lot of fights in the future. I can still combine [sports].”

One thing is for certain, any future return to boxing for Ngannou might be evaluated with more caution.

🥊 Over To You

After his fights against Fury and Joshua, where do you think Ngannou actually ranks in Heavyweight boxing?

📣 Let Us Know In The Comments

Written By Box.Live Team

This piece was was put together by the talented content team at Box.Live, who have been 'Unifying it All' since 2016.

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