Joe Joyce says he would love the chance to face Francis Ngannou in the boxing ring after previously sparring with the UFC champion.
Ahead of his stoppage win over British rival Daniel Dubios in 2020, Joyce shared a few rounds with Ngannou at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas.
‘The Juggernaut’, who is known for his granite chin, was impressed by Ngannou’s power and recently admitted he spent most of the sparring session just trying to avoid getting cracked by the MMA knockout artist.
“I sparred Ngannou before the Dubois fight, he’s a big, powerful unit. It was a good experience to spar him,” Joyce told GiveMeSport.
“He’s a freak of nature. He’s got phenomenal power. Most of the time I was trying to get away from those power shots to avoid getting my head taken off.”
The 37-year-old, who recently stretched his perfect boxing record to 15-0 by beating Joseph Parkerinsists he’d ‘love’ to fight Ngannou but has no interest in crossing over to another sport.
“I’d love to fight him though but let’s keep it simple with boxing,” Joyce added.
“The UFC is too much, man. Credit to all those guys because they have to train so hard in all these different areas like they have to be so well-rounded in the kicking, the striking, the grappling and the submissions and all that so it’s a lot you have to train for .”
While a fight with ‘The Predator’ would intrigue many boxing fans, Joyce has bigger fish to fry after becoming mandatory for Oleksandr Usyk’s WBO title.
The Olympic silver medalist has also been named as a potential opponent by WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury who recently suggested they could fight at Wembley Stadium in February.
“If Usyk don’t want no smoke in February, let’s do [Joe] Joyce at Wembley,” The Gypsy King told Queensbury Promotions on Tuesday.
“Joe, get your skates on, get fit, because if the middleweight don’t want no smoke you’re in. I’m fighting three times next year and you could be one of them.”
Meanwhile, Ngannou’s combat sports career is currently in limbo as he is sidelined after undergoing knee surgery and has yet to re-sign with the UFC after his contract expired.
The 36-year-old, who has previously been linked to a fight with Fury, has been vocal about his desire to cross over into boxing and won’t sign another UFC deal unless they support his dream to enter the squared circle.