Matchroom’s Hearn Looking To Meet With UFC’s White Regarding Potential Whyte-Ngannou Clash
The last time a boxer and an MMA fighter fought one another, Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor produced a live gate of over $55,000,000. While the numbers most likely will not look the same, Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn is toying with the idea of Francis Ngannou and interim WBC Heavyweight Champion Dillian Whyte clashing.
Hearn, who has been known to host celebrity YouTube fights, wouldn’t dismiss a co-promotional bout between two sports.
“I never really thought we would take this too seriously, but in the last week we have to take this seriously,” Hearn stated to Sky Sports. “I’m going to be reaching out to Dana White and saying: ‘Tell me how this works? Can we actually do this? Are we doing it in a ring? Are we doing it in a cage? Are we doing one round of each?'”
Whyte (27-1) has called out Ngannou (15-3) in the past, stating he’s a coward following his two lone defeats in the UFC. Both times, against Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis, Ngannou did not display the same explosiveness that resulted in vicious knockout shots. “The Body Snatcher” has expressed a desire to return to MMA, where he had one fight. He believes that Ngannou could not take him down.
Ngannou has since answered Whyte’s many attempts to reach out, stating he does not know who Whyte is. He is interested in fighting in a cage against him, however. Not long ago, Ngannou had hopes of becoming a boxer. The 33-year-old is coming off of a 20-second knockout win (his eleventh) against Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 249. On a four-fight win streak, all four have come via some form of knockout.
On an eleven-fight win streak, Whyte is scheduled to face off against Alexander Povetkin for the interim title. Originally for May, the fight was postponed to around July as a result of the coronavirus. He wants a world title shot against either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder, something he believes he has earned since the WBC made him the mandatory challenger for the title in 2017 (ranked first). Whyte has 18 wins via knockout. Even with several bouts planned, Hearn believes the fight between the two power punchers could be extremely profitable.
“It’s really got a lot of momentum and a lot of promise. I think there’s a really good chance it could happen,” Hearn went on to say. “There’s not just interest online, there is huge interest everywhere for that fight. I’ve started to receive a lot of interest from numerous people about staging that fight now. I think it does colossal numbers.”
As far as comparing it to Mayweather v. McGregor, Hearn sees this as an opportunity to unite the fanbases of both sports. With two men who have knockout power and an intimidating presence, Hearn can’t see anything wrong with the matchup.
“It’s the first real, genuine crossover fight,” said Hearn. “I know we had Floyd and we had Conor, but this is a different kind of fight. This is a different kind of experience. This is brutality at its absolute rawest. This fight does huge numbers. It’s got the boxing fans, it’s got the MMA fans, it’s got the intrigue. It’s got everything.”