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Offers come pouring in for Francis Ngannou after breakthrough performance against Tyson Fury

Francis Ngannou (right) and Tyson Fury. Photo credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Francis Ngannou is on the verge of a world ranking with preliminary discussion already underway for high profile fights despite losing his pro debut.

The former UFC heavyweight champion has had something of a fairytale start to his boxing career. The 37-year-old Cameroonian was surprisingly competitive in his 10-round non-title bout against WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury 34-0-1 (24) in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, dropping him in the third round and losing a close split decision.

Although Fury won, the 35-year-old Brit’s stock dropped. Meanwhile, Ngannou’s stock went through the roof with the performance.

You can count WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman amongst those impressed by what he saw.

“What I personally witnessed last night is a solid boxer, who deserves to be ranked by the WBC and I will make such recommendations to the ratings committee,” Sulaiman said.

Fury’s co-promoter Frank Warren says Ngannou has earned the right to be ranked.

“Why wouldn’t you?” Warren said to iFL TV. “He’s just gone in there with the lineal champion and given him his toughest fight that he’s had in his last three fights.”

Ngannou intends to honour his agreement to fight for MMA promotion PFL, but is also keen to continue his burgeoning boxing career.

Queensberry Promotions boss Warren wants to work with Ngannou again and has a few ideas on who he would like to see him in against next.

“He has come out of this a huge star, a hero,” Warren said to Metro. “He is now in a position to be in massive fights and I will have a meeting with him and his people about working together. The rematch could end up being as big as the [proposed Oleksandr] Usyk fight.

“I will offer him a top-level fight, he is solid, an athlete. He’ll get into the top 10 after that and based on that performance, I would give him a shot against anyone in the top 10 and I think he’d beat at least five of them right now.

“He’d beat Manuel Charr all day long; him and Joe Joyce would be a good fight.

“The Tyson rematch, if it happens, would be massive. It’s all about Tyson wanting to do it. He might turn round and say he’s had enough.”

Germany’s Charr 34-4 (20) is a fringe contender, while England’s Joyce 15-2 (14) is coming off back-to-back knockout losses to Chinese powerhouse Zhilei ‘Big Bang’ Zhang 26-1-1 (21) this year.

Fury himself has hinted that he would like to face Ngannou in a rematch in the future, but his next fight is expected to be against WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine champion Oleksandr Usyk 21-0 (14) early next year.

“Listen, I would like to do it again down the line,” Fury said. “And I’m sure Francis would like to do it as well. But we got this man [Usyk] to deal with next and that’s what’s next for us.”