Boxing: Francis Ngannou ‘destroyed’ by Anthony Joshua in two rounds


British-Nigerian two-time world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua made easy of the threat from Francis Ngannou, the Cameroonian mixed martial artist whose nascent career in boxing took two knockdowns and a knock out in their fight on Saturday in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua, 34, floored the UFC champion in the first round and early in the second before delivering a destructive second-round knockout. Ngannou had to be treated by medics as he appeared motionless when he hit the canvas.

The manner of the loss for Ngannou, 37, was one that reminded fans of the inherent threat and danger in combat sports especially for crossover or would-be cross over fighters. But even more, it was an indication of Joshua’s raw power who has made light of fighters that WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has struggled with.

Only in October, Fury was cut and floored by Ngannou in what was a stunning professional debut performance from Ngannou the former reigning UFC heavyweight champion, eventually winning a contentious decision on the scorecards.

Ngannou however earned appraisal as a bona fide threat to boxing’s heavyweight division, leading Joshua who in the first half of 2023 had downplayed and dismissed the prospect of fighting him to change his mind.

“When I saw the fight with Tyson Fury I thought ‘I want some of that’. [Ngannou] is a great champion and this doesn’t take anything away from his capabilities,” said Joshua after his emphatic win on Saturday. 

The fight in Riyadh that commenced at 3.40 am local time certainly did not bring any of the potential upset fans feared when they watched Ngannou drop Fury eerily in the third round of their bout in October.

This time, it was instead the Watford-born fighter Joshua flooring Ngannou within three minutes. Ngannou beat the referee’s count at 8 before seeing out round one but round two would prove too difficult for the MMA legend.

An explosive right by Joshua, moments after Ngannou got up from a second knockdown punch saw the referee instantly waving off the contest. Ngannou was completely knocked out cold.

“I told him not to leave boxing. He’s two fights in and he’s fought the best.” Joshua told the Cameroonian several moments after receivng medical treatment.

The victory is Joshua’s (28-3 two-time world champion) fourth in 11 months, and keeps alive his ambition of recapturing a world title for the third time after his back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine. 

There is also now talk and speculation of a Joshua fight against the winner of the undisputed heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk on May 18 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 


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