In the realm of professional boxing, the announcement of a major event is often met with a combination of excitement, speculation, and in some instances, controversy. The recent revelation by promoter Frank Warren about a “historic night of boxing” scheduled for December 23rd in Saudi Arabia, likely Riyadh, embodies all these elements. This event, as per Warren’s vision, is not just another addition to the boxing calendar but a landmark occasion that aims to bring together a diverse array of pugilistic talents from across the globe.
Central to the swirl of rumors surrounding this event is the potential main event matchup between Dereck Chisora, the British heavyweight with a record of 34 wins (23 by knockout) and 13 losses, and Francis Ngannou, the former UFC heavyweight champion with a nascent boxing record of 0-1. This proposed bout is particularly intriguing given Ngannou’s recent foray into boxing and his narrow loss to Tyson Fury last October in a fight that many felt he could have won.
While the prospect of Chisora taking on Ngannou has sparked enthusiasm among British boxing fans, the reaction in the United States has been notably more tepid. This ambivalence possibly stems from a perceived mismatch between Chisora, whose prime years in the sport seem to be behind him, and Ngannou, whose boxing journey is still in its infancy yet brimming with potential.
The event’s fight card, still under wraps, is rumored to include notable names like Joe Joyce, Zhilei Zhang, Martin Bakole, Joseph Parker, and Deontay Wilder. Frank Warren’s comments to talkSport Boxing about the event featuring “boxers from all over the world” and “some great fights involving British fighters” add to the speculation and anticipation.
Critics of the Chisora-Ngannou matchup point out the incongruence in pitting Ngannou, with his burgeoning boxing credentials, against Chisora, whose recent track record has been less than stellar. Chisora, a once-prominent figure in the heavyweight division, has experienced a notable decline, marked by a series of losses and diminishing performances, which starkly contrast with his earlier days when he stood as a formidable opponent for champions like Vitali Klitschko and David Haye.
The debate extends to potential alternatives for Ngannou’s opponent, with suggestions of Arslanbek Makhmudov, Filip Hrgovic, Martin Bakole, or Fabio Wardley being more fitting contenders. Some even argue that Ngannou should be facing heavyweights of higher repute, such as Oleksandr Usyk or Anthony Joshua, or seeking a rematch with Fury.
In contrast to the criticism, Chisora remains undaunted and eager for the challenge, as evident from his comments to IFL TV. His declaration, “I want everybody, I want Francis Ngannou yeah, I wanna get it,” reflects his eagerness to face the Cameroonian boxer. When asked about his readiness for a December fight, Chisora’s response was unequivocal: “I’m ready to fight every day bro.”
Derek Chisora, known for his fearless attitude and willingness to take on any challenge, has set his sights on a new and formidable opponent: Francis Ngannou. This call-out is significant, not just for the personalities involved, but for the context in which it occurs. Ngannou, transitioning from the UFC to boxing, has quickly made a name for himself in the squared circle. His recent performance against Tyson Fury, one of the most dominant figures in heavyweight boxing, has been nothing short of remarkable.
In their encounter, Ngannou showcased his prowess and potential in the world of boxing. Over ten grueling rounds, he not only held his own against Fury but managed to drop ‘The Gypsy King’ in the third round. Despite ultimately losing by split decision, many observers believed Ngannou deserved the victory. This fight not only elevated Ngannou’s status in the boxing world but also left an open question about his future in the sport.
Originally, the aftermath of this fight was expected to lead Fury directly into an undisputed heavyweight world title bout with Oleksandr Usyk on December 23. However, plans have shifted, with the fight likely postponed until February to allow Fury recovery time from his taxing encounter with Ngannou. This delay has left an opening in the boxing calendar on December 23, a date that has now become the center of attention for potential high-profile matchups.
Boxing News had speculated that Ngannou could step back into the ring on this date, with names like Zhilei Zhang and Joseph Parker being mentioned as possible opponents.
Chisora’s confidence extends to his prediction of the fight’s outcome. He believes that a bout with Ngannou would not only be a great fight but is also one he can win by knockout. Despite acknowledging Ngannou’s strengths as a fighter and his impressive performance against Fury, Chisora is undeterred. He describes Ngannou as “amazing, a great fighter, a strong guy, a great MMA fighter,” who caught Fury on an off day.
At 39 years old, Chisora is well aware that his time in the sport is limited. With a current record of 47 fights, he has expressed a desire to reach the 50-fight milestone before considering retirement. A match against Ngannou could be one of these final three bouts, adding a significant chapter to his storied career.
This potential matchup presents a fascinating contrast of styles and backgrounds. Chisora, a veteran of the ring with years of experience in professional boxing, versus Ngannou, a relative newcomer to the sport but with a background in MMA and a rapidly growing boxing reputation. It’s a classic tale of experience versus new blood, a narrative that has always captivated boxing fans.
The implications of such a fight are considerable. For Chisora, it’s an opportunity to prove that he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level and to possibly conclude his career on a high note. For Ngannou, it’s a chance to solidify his place in professional boxing and demonstrate that his performance against Fury was no fluke.