ATLANTA – According to Deontay Wilder, a boxing match with Francis Ngannou isn’t just a pipe dream.
The former WBC heavyweight champ made an appearance backstage at PFL 4 after taking in the festivities cageside and appearing briefly on the broadcast.
Naturally, Wilder’s presence suggests the tournament-based MMA promotion is at least trying to facilitate a fight with Francis Ngannou, its highest-profile free agent acquisition, for a boxing match.
And for what it’s worth, Wilder appears to be game. The ex-boxing champ entertained the idea of trying MMA and trading Ngannou a boxing match for an MMA fight.
Backstage, Wilder told MMA Fighting he is “99 percent” on the way to securing his next fight, an expected meeting with fellow ex-champ Anthony Joshua, toward the end of the year. But he also acknowledged the definite chance that would fall through, freeing him up for a potential fight with Ngannou.
“At that specific date [in December], I’m not sure, but all things and anything are possible,” Wilder said. “Me and Francis have had discussions, we had meetings with both parties, as far as the team is concerned. So this is a real conversation that has been taking place, not only just amongst the combat ... family, but amongst the teams as well, getting on the phone, everybody talking.
“So this is something that can truly happen to him. So the best is yet to come overall. There’s so many things that I could say, so many things that I can try to put in words to say, but at the end of the day, we’ll see what happens when it happens. That’s the best way I can [say it] to give people a peace of mind. These things are in discussion, but we’ll see what happens and when it happens, it’s gonna be amazing.”
Wilder even tried on a pair of PFL gloves cageside in a follow-up interview and had a few words for Ngannou, whose dream to box was one of his reasons for running out his UFC contract as champion.
“Hey Francis, you listening?” Wilder said with a smile. “We discussed this before, and we’ve got many space and opportunity to discuss once more. I’m looking for a two-fight [deal] crossing over.”
Ngannou is expected to make his PFL debut in 2024 after making his professional boxing debut.