Francis Ngannou is a top-10 heavyweight after ONE boxing fight – but how?

Francis Ngannou is officially a top-10 boxing heavyweight after just one fight, but how?

The former UFC heavyweight king successfully transitioned from the octagon to the ring, and he did so in a big way. Ngannou took unbeaten WBC and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury right to the brink in October before dropping a hotly-disputed split decision.

While Fury goes on to that eagerly-awaited unification match vs Oleksandr Usyk in February, Ngannou got a different reward – a top-10 ranking from the WBC (World Boxing Council). So how could he be ranked so high after just one fight as a professional?

Well now we have some answers, with WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman speaking out to explain the reasoning behind Ngannou’s entry at #10 on the latest list.

He told Sky Sports: “First of all it is based on the rules. The WBC rules for the ratings criteria has many parameters; record, activity, level of opposition and other matters including activity in amateur boxing, Olympic boxing or any other contact sport.

“We have ranked many fighters from Thailand who have had a successful Muay Thai or Thai boxing career and they enter into professional boxing. We have so many precedents.”

Sulaiman questions Ngannou ranking critics

Sulaiman doubled down on his defence of Ngannou’s ranking – claiming that anybody criticising the move is doing so only to court controversy.

“For Ngannou to enter the rankings, it’s supported by the rules. But who can, in their state of mind, go against Ngannou being ranked? He dropped Tyson, the best heavyweight champion of today in boxing and he lost a split decision against the champion. So who can go against that? It is only to make controversy. So if they see that it is within the rules and they see the performance he had, there is no controversy putting him No 10 in the rankings.

“It was amazing. He has a big chin, a huge chin, tremendous punching power and he was very clean. He boxed. There was a concern that he would get to the tactics of mixed martial arts. No, he did a tremendous fight. He’s humble and he’s hardworking. I’m very proud of the decision by the WBC.”

Now we await Ngannou’s next move, with a Fury rematch (once ‘The Gypsy King’ has ended his dance with Usyk) and a showdown with Anthony Joshua among the possibilities being mooted. It’s likely Ngannou will fight again as a boxer, after revealing that his purse for the Fury fight was more than the money he earned for the entirety of his UFC career.