“Rumble in the Jungle II”: 50 Years After Historic Ali vs Foreman, Eddie Hearn Hints Francis Ngannou vs Anthony Joshua in Africa

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

On the 30th of October, 1974, an iconic fight went down in Kinshasa, Zaire (modern-day Democratic Republic of Congo). In a fight titled, ‘Rumble in Jungle’, Muhammad Ali rose victorious against George Foreman through an 8th-round knockout. 50 years later today, the iconic title will be invoked yet again. This time between abled Heavyweight fighter Anthony Joshua and newbie boxer, Francis Ngannou. 

The fight comes in the wake of Ngannou having proven his mettle against WBC Heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury on the 28th of October. Despite having lost the matchup through a split decision, Ngannou managed to convince the world that he holds the gumption of a Heavyweight fighter. Hence, comes the fight ‘Rumble in Jungle II’.

When the ten rounds had elapsed between Fury and ‘The Predator’ Ngannou, the world had realized what the latter held in spirit as a boxer. With his precision and powerful jabs, he even managed to throw down a giant like Tyson Fury. After having proved his capabilities in his maiden fight, he awaited a fight that was if not more but equally as high-profile as the Fury one.

Enter Eddie Hearn. If anyone can conceptualize fights of a mammoth capacity, it is AJ’s promoter, Hearn. Heavily impressed with how Ngannou maneuvered through the ring against Fury, he now offers the fighter yet another big fight. A fight that will beseech history in all its glory. In a conversation with Ariel Helwani, the promoter outlined a potential Africa fight between AJ and Ngannou.

He said, “Now I’m thinking, ‘Francis Ngannou vs Anthony Joshua, perhaps in Africa, perhaps the Rumble in the Jungle II, is one of the biggest fights in the history of the sport.’ And I promise you this – respect to Francis, [but] easy work for my man.” 

If the proposal of Rumble in the Jungle II goes through, the boxing realm can expect a fight that will generate bucks possibly like never before. However, the pressure on the organizers and the fighters too will be massive given the standards set by the previous edition of the fight.

In the books, Ali vs. Foreman

Ali’s iconic “Rumble in the Jungle” with George Foreman captivated the world’s attention. This fight came against the backdrop of the Vietnam War as a beacon of diversion from it. Ali had revived his career after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus due to objection regarding participating in the war. He returned to the ring, even if slower, and defied the odds, drawing in fans and media with his charisma and style.

In the exotic setting of Kinshasa, he faced Foreman, the unbeaten champion. The fight, recorded for posterity, became a legendary event. Ali, the underdog at 40-1 odds, triumphed with an eighth-round knockout, reaffirming his status as the “King of the World.” Yet, the event also raised some ethical questions. Ali demanded a lucrative sum to participate, aligning himself with Mobutu Sese Seko’s regime. The fight was a remarkable spectacle. However, it was associated with a despotic ruler who led a longstanding dictatorship in the region.

Ali’s unconventional tactics, leaning on slackened ropes, exhausted Foreman and led to his stunning victory. This win, like so many of Ali’s feats, defied doubters and solidified his legendary status. Retelling this story in their contexts now will be Francis Ngannou and Anthony Joshua. Ngannou has no fight signed after the Fury one. However, AJ will be taking his crusade in the much-awaited Deontay Wilder fight.


Write A Comment