Matchroom Boxing has confirmed that Francis Ngannou will not be allowing a scheduled Dillian Whyte press conference to be broadcast on Saturday, as planned.
The UFC star and interim WBC Heavyweight World Champion Whyte were due to come together for a special ePress conference at 7pm (BST) via YouTube.
For an unknown reason, Ngannou and his team chose to negate the agreement to allow the airing of the one-to-one.
The ‘Rivals’ episode was ready for transmission until Ngannou revoked permission.
Explaining the situation, Matchroom said: “Unfortunately our planned Rivals episode with Dillian Whyte and Francis Ngannou will no longer be released on Saturday due to a request from Team Ngannou. Stay tuned for more info and content!”
Promoter Eddie Hearn had revealed that he has received huge demand to stage an explosive battle between the big-hitters. The Essex man was planning on holding talks with UFC boss Dana White with an eye to putting on the fight at the back end of 2020.
Whyte is currently training for a rescheduled clash with Russian danger man Alexander Povetkin that is due to conclude Matchroom Boxing’s groundbreaking ‘Fight Camp’ this summer. But ‘The Body Snatcher’ could then turn his attention to a fight with Ngannou before the end of 2020.
Ngannou is the No.2 ranked contender in the UFC and the 33-year-old’s mettle has already been tested inside the boxing ring by British Heavyweight Joe Joyce when the big men shared eight rounds of sparring in Las Vegas earlier this year.
“Whoever wants it, can get it,” said Whyte. “We can do two fights, one in the ring and one in the cage.
“We’ve both got power, we’re both in our prime and one punch can end it. I want to get it on and rock the world.”
Ngannou had initially expressed his interest in facing Whyte despite alluding to a fight way into the future.
“People have been talking about this potential fight for months now,” said Ngannou. “This makes sense down the line. Me and Dillian are going to cross paths. I don’t back down from a challenge.”
Answering critics who say Hearn and Whyte are merely looking for publicity, the Matchroom boss stated: “Dana loves great fights. So I’ll try to make this happen.
“This isn’t a gimmick. This is two of the best and the baddest in the world. Whyte vs. Ngannou would be huge,” added Hearn.