Former heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder continues to beat the drum for a big fight.

The hard-punching native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has not fought in over a year, since his one-punch knockout of Robert Helenius in the opening round of their scheduled 12-round bout last October at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

That fight preceded another one-year layoff for Wilder, who was rebounding from a brutal 11th-round knockout loss to Tyson Fury in their trilogy in October of 2021.

Wilder has lately been trying to get in the ring with former heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua of London, but those talks have recently hit a snag. The two were in serious discussion to fight each other at the end of the year but the fight was waylaid when it became clear that the original backer, Skill Challenge Entertainment, an entity in Saudi Arabia, could not provide funds to stage that contest.

Now Wilder is eyeing a possible fight with former UFC champion Francis Ngannou, who has been enjoying his moment in the sun in boxing after his valiant but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to unhorse WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

Last month, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Fury barely scraped by Ngannou with a split decision and even had to overcome a shocking knockdown in the third round by a fighter who was making his boxing debut. Ngannou has characterized the result as a "robbery" and recently alleged that the fight was fixed.

Wilder is now apparently looking to explore a fight with Ngannou. Wilder expressed interest in a "crossover" fight with Ngannou earlier this year.

“Ngannou, bro, I love you,” Wilder told ESNews. “Great fight, man. You won that fight big time. You proved to the world your greatness. Great job and I’m looking forward to doing business with you, bro. But other than that, you know, relax, man, enjoy life, enjoy your family most of all. I’ll talk to you soon.

Asked if he would be open to a “mixed-rules” fight with Ngannou, Wilder responded, “Yeah!”  

Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.