In a recent interview with IFL TV, Matchroom Boxing's boss Eddie Hearn expressed his belief that a potential bout between Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou holds more commercial appeal than the undisputed bout between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury.
Hearn points to the unexpected outcomes of Joshua's prior bouts and the appeal both fighters have within two different media markets. Joshua, a two-time heavyweight champion is rebuilding after back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk.
“This is me talking, but if that fight emerged, that’s a huge fight. My advice is, ‘Take it, take the fight.’ 100%,” said Hearn when speaking to IFL TV about if Joshua would take a fight with Ngannou. " [Joshua] beats [Ngannou] comfortably, and two, it’s massive. I don’t think Fury-Usyk is. AJ against Ngannou is a bigger fight than Fury-Usyk, in my opinion."
Hearn stated that only a fight between Tyson Fury, and Anthony Joshua could match the excitement of Joshua-Ngannou, as he believes the event would tap into a lot of casual fans who want to see 'who would win.' Hearn furthered that Oleksandr Usyk, though well-regarded among hardcore boxing enthusiasts, lacks the name power that the other fighters have making him a high-risk, low-reward fight compared to the others.
“AJ against Fury is arguable, but Fury is contracted to fight Usyk, so it can’t even happen," stated Hearn "I wish it did. I’ll tell you something right now. AJ knocks out Tyson Fury.”
Hearn also focused on how Francis Ngannou earned credibility by giving Tyson Fury one of his toughest fights since facing Steve Cunningham, Otto Wallin, and Deontay Wilder. Given Ngannou's performance most felt it was a mismatch.
“I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket saying, ‘Oh, we must fight Francis Ngannou.’ If that fight came to AJ now, which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, fight in the whole of boxing, my advice to Anthony Joshua is to take that fight," said Hearn.
Hearn is not willing to say he is ready to go all-in on Joshua facing Ngannou but it seems if the opportunity arises, he'd be keen on entertaining such a bout. As with Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor and bouts prior 'big money fights' that have global interest don't have to be bouts that have much consequence in terms of the world title picture. Though in some people's eyes Ngannou has 'earned' the right to face the top boxers based on his performance against Tyson Fury, it is also worth noting that many great boxers are being ignored who are going the way of the sanctioning bodies to land life-changing fights.
Though Joshua currently does not hold a title that is not to say he won't if such a fight does happen, and it paints a grizzly reality that demand will always move boxing more than the sporting aspect - at least for the time being. A rumor has been floated that if the bout were to happen, it could possibly take place in Africa, along with the obvious choice of Saudi Arabia.