Francis Ngannou reaches ‘verbal agreement’ to box Deontay Wilder

Francis Ngannou is the most coveted free agent in the world of combat sports now. Earlier today we reported on Ngannou confirming that he’s in talks with PFL and ONE FC to continue his MMA career in one of the promotions.

Bellator CEO Scott Coker rated their talks with Ngannou as 50% chance he ends up there.

And now Ngannou has confirmed that he is in advanced talks with Deontay Wilder for a potential boxing match in Africa.

The Cameroonian left UFC as a free agent following a breakdown in contract negotiations and has been eyeing a switch to boxing. He’s reportedly targeting a $30 million payday. That type of a payday is unheard of in MMA but isn’t too out there in boxing.

While Ngannou has also held talks with Anthony Joshua, he is reportedly deeper in conversations with American star Wilder and the two have even reached a ‘verbal agreement’ They could potentially box in Africa next year on the 50th anniversary of Muhammad Ali’s Rumble in The Jungle. This would be in October of 2024.

He told  ESPN: “We are looking around that timeline for the potential second fight. Which, in my opinion, should still be in boxing.

“Boxing is a new challenge, but remember, at the beginning, MMA was just as challenging as boxing – if not bigger.

“So, I don’t back down from challenges.”

Wilder has offered to face Ngannou in both the ring and cage as part of a two-bout deal. However, Ngannou has expressed a preference to focus solely on boxing.

If the Ngannou-Wilder does take place in Africa next year, it would be a historic event for the continent. Africa has produced many great boxers over the years, but the sport has not always received the attention it deserves. A bout between two of the biggest names in combat sports could help to raise the profile of boxing in Africa and inspire a new generation of boxers.