Francis Ngannou’s coach, Dewey Cooper, expects big things for his fighter in 2024 and beyond.
On March 8, Ngannou will take on his second test in the boxing ring when he fights former world champion Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia — a fight which, Cooper predicts, will streamline former UFC champion Ngannou’s path to what would be an unprecedented world title in a second combat sport.
“It’s gonna happen. It’s definitely gonna happen,” Cooper said via ESPN. “He’s gonna defeat Anthony Joshua, and then in October, if the gods of war and boxing come through and Tyson Fury defeats Oleksandr Usyk, it’ll be Francis and Tyson in a rematch for all the undisputed titles in boxing.
“A man in his third fight fighting to be undisputed heavyweight champion and winning that in three fights with a record of 2-1 being the undisputed heavyweight champion,” Cooper added. “With all the belts. It’s gonna happen, and that’s insane. It’s never gonna be done again; it’s like someone wrote a fantasy book, and this is so far-fetched from being a reality. But it’s very close, and it could happen in 2024.”
Ngannou’s very presence in these types of conversations is worthy of note. Not many gave him a chance of landing a glove on Tyson Fury in their October boxing match, but land (several) gloves he did — including one that flattened the WBC heavyweight champion in the third round. His reward? A massive payday against Joshua and a chance to score one of the unlikeliest achievements in all of sport
“The fight gods, the gods of boxing, the gods of entertainment came together to make this happen,” Cooper said. “This wasn’t supposed to happen. Under the card of Joshua vs. Wallen was Deontay Wilder vs. Joseph Parker. Deontay Wilder is supposed to win his fight, and Joshua is supposed to win his fight. And that was the fight we were supposed to see.”
“But Deontay didn’t hold up his end of the deal,” he added. “An opening got in there. Joshua looked spectacular in his fight, and he looked really clean, polished, strong, and sharp. And now he has no one to fight. Well, guess what: there’s someone that’ll fight him. There’s an MMA champion that’ll fight him.”