In October, the stage was set for an epic showdown between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou. The boxing world anticipated an unequal match, with Ngannou positioned as the clear underdog. However, the Saudi Arabian event witnessed a huge shift in expectations as Ngannou almost dethroned Fury.
During the third round, Ngannou achieved the remarkable—a rare knockdown of the seasoned Brit. Despite this valiant effort, Tyson Fury won the match via a split-decision after ten intense rounds.
With the win, he kept his title unification bout with Oleksandr Usyk intact. But the highly anticipated bout with Usyk was rescheduled from December to February.
Post the electrifying face-off, Francis Ngannou’s stature skyrocketed within the boxing world. In addition, he started conversations with people like Zhilei Zhang and Deontay Wilder.
But Anthony Joshua is one opponent the PFL heavyweight challenger most certainly won’t be facing. The MMA icon was publicly discredited by Joshua before his match with Fury.
However, Eddie Hearn thinks there’s another reason the heavyweights won’t compete. In an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, the president of Matchroom Boxing presented a different hypothesis.
Hearn claimed that Ngannou and Tyson Fury had apparently inked a deal for a rematch, slated post Fury’s two-fight series with Oleksandr Usyk.
Hearn stated: “I reached out to Francis Ngannou’s team. Just to let you know, we’re up for discussing Francis Ngannou and ‘AJ’ fight. I never heard back from them. Probably, knowing the business, I would say that Fury and Ngannou  is probably agreed. For post Fury-Usyk, already.”
He continued, “Certainly if I’m Francis Ngnanou, there’s only three things I’m doing. I’m fighting ‘AJ’, I’m fighting Wilder, or Fury. He’ll feel like after that first fight that he can beat Fury.”
“But, there’s no point [in fighting anyone else], he can really lose to anybody in the top 50 at heavyweight. So, you’ve got to cash in at this point. There’s really only three fights to cash in at the level that he wants.”
“I guess, Francis Ngannou will fight in the PFL, in Spring [or] Summer of 2024. Then, he’ll fight Tyson Fury at the end of this year. I would think that would be the mindset of the team.”