By Elliot Worsell
WHILE not as bad as ranking a deceased fighter, which is something boxing has been known to do in the past, the decision of the World Boxing Council (WBC) to rank Francis Ngannou at number 10 in the heavyweight division is still a little perplexing to say the least.
Their decision to do so was announced today (November 15) at a ratings and mandatory session in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and comes at a time when Ngannou, having made his professional debut in October, boasts a 0-1 (0) professional record.
Now, of course, in fairness to Ngannou, and for the sake of context, it is worth mentioning that his professional debut happened to be against Tyson Fury, arguably the world’s number one heavyweight. Moreover, not only did Ngannou manage to miraculously last the distance with Fury, despite have never previously boxed , he also dropped Fury in the process and came ever so close to actually beating him on the cards (indeed, one of the three judges believed he did).
As far as debuts goes, then, Ngannou’s was arguably more encouraging and noteworthy than any other in boxing history. However, be that as it may, he still lost the fight and he is still, as of November 15, 2023, yet to win a boxing match in a professional ring.
It seems ludicrous therefore that the likeable Cameroonian should receive a top-10 ranking by virtue of the spirited and surprising effort he produced against Fury in Saudi Arabia. After all, sitting where he currently sits in the rankings, Ngannou is able to look down on Filip Hrgovic and Joe Joyce, both of whom, irrespective of successful pro careers and some big wins, rank beneath him at 11 and 12 respectively. He is also perhaps one victory away from potentially challenging for a world heavyweight title, an idea unthinkable back when the boxing world was ridiculing Fury for entertaining the former UFC star in what was essentially a 10-round exhibition bout (with no titles – that is, Fury’s WBC belt – on the line) in Riyadh.
Still, in other news, there’s this: Conor Benn is now ranked at number five by the WBC.