"Francis was like you"- Ivorian Minister of Youth Promotion announces collaboration with the Francis Ngannou Foundation

Francis Ngannou with Mamdou Toure and other Ivory Coast officials [Image via: @francisngannou on Instagram]
Francis Ngannou with Mamdou Toure and other Ivory Coast officials [Image via: @francisngannou on Instagram]

Francis Ngannou recently visited the city of Abobo, north of Abidjan, in Ivory Coast, to interact with the youth of the community. The former UFC heavyweight champion was accompanied by Minister for Promotion of Youth Mamadou Toure and President of the Ivorian Senate Kandia Camara.

Ngannou is undoubtedly one of the most prominent personalities in MMA today. The Cameroonian had to persevere through immense hardships to make his dreams of becoming a professional martial artist come true. 'The Predator' has exhaustively documented his experience surviving extreme poverty as a young boy and the struggles he faced working in sand mines as a teenager.

Needless to say, Ngannou's story has inspired many young hearts, and his time at the Abobo Youth Agora was proof of the same. Speaking to youngsters at the meeting, he pointed out:

"My biggest dream was to become a high-level boxer... I was in precarious circumstances. I worked in small jobs. At 22, I left my village to go to Douala, and I joined a boxing club. Nobody believed in me. I had to persevere for years. In life, it's not the start that counts, it's the finish. The important thing is to stay in the race."

Minister Mamadou Toure followed up by announcing that his department had signed an agreement with the Francis Ngannou Foundation and praised the Cameroonian for being a guiding light to young people all over the world. He said:

"I found in him many young Ivorians. A few years ago, Francis was like you. We are very honored to receive champion Ngannou in our commune. We are very proud of him." [ h/t news.abidjan.net] [Translated via Google Translate]

Alistair Overeem names Francis Ngannou as the hardest-hitting opponent he ever faced

Former UFC heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem recently opened up about his time in the UFC and revealed that Francis Ngannou was the hardest-hitting opponent he had ever faced.

Overeem faced Ngannou at UFC 218 in December 2017 in a highly anticipated heavyweight bout. While many expected the former K-1 Kickboxing champion to push Ngannou to his limits, 'The Predator' secured an astounding first-round knockout via one of the most vicious uppercuts ever seen in the octagon.

In a recent interview with talkSPORT, Overeem was asked if he remembers which fighter shocked him with their power. He replied:

"That is a good question. The heaviest puncher ever? Actually, yes. Francis Ngannou." [ h/t talksport.com]

Francis Ngannou last faced Tyson Fury in his professional boxing debut in October in Riyadh. Despite putting on an impressive performance, Ngannou lost to the WBC heavyweight champion via split decision.

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Edited by Jigyanshushri Mahanta