Anthony Joshua initially showed no inclination towards engaging in what he deemed as “gimmick fights” against former UFC champions. However, the opinion shifted when Francis Ngannou demonstrated the prowess of MMA strikers by going head-to-head with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury last October in Riyadh.
Now Joshua is gearing up to step into the ring against Ngannou in March.
The prospect of a clash between Joshua and Ngannou seems promising. But former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis voices concerns that such a match even with a victory could pose risks for Joshua. Lewis argues that it might weaken Joshua’s case for the next shot at the WBC crown, a title he has set his sights on.
After defeating Otto Wallin in Saudi Arabia, Joshua is back in action.
Lewis wrote on X: “If AJ beats Ngannou, which he should, does that elevate him to a shot at undisputed? Beating Wallin and Ngannou? There’s a much better case for the winner of Parker vs. Zhang and if AJ gets through Ngannou, and Usyk wins undisputed, is the appetite for Usyk vs. Joshua 3 out there?”
Lewis suggests that a more compelling case for a shot at undisputed title could arise from the winner of the upcoming bout between Joseph Parker and Zhang Zhilei, scheduled as the co-main event of the Joshua-Ngannou card.
Also, Joshua has already lost twice versus Usyk.
He added: “If Fury becomes undisputed, the man says he’s vacating all belts but the WBC and The Ring so Fury in effect becomes last undisputed [champion] until someone else can ‘Thanos’ them back together. I still want to see AJ fight Fury and Wilder … those are big fights. But like I told Mike Tyson, if you keep fighting guys like Lou Savarese, you will NEVER be ready for me.”
In just a few weeks, the heavyweight division of boxing is likely to undergo a significant upheaval, for better or worse.