Anthony Joshua knocks out Francis Ngannou in two rounds

Anthony Joshua knocks down Francis Ngannou during their match up at the Kingdom Arena in Riydah, Saudi Arabia on March 8, 2024

Former IBF, IBO and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua made a statement ofFrancis Ngannou after giving the former UFC champion a daring knockout. The fight lasted barely two rounds with Anthony Joshua working his right hand to perfection to stun the Cameroonian.

Billed as the ‘Knockout Chaos’, the main event did not travel the distance as many anticipated due to Ngannous’s debut heroics against Tyson Fury. Having travelled the full length against the WBC and The Ring title holder, Ngannou gave many hopes of making a huge statement even if his next fight is in MMA.

Ngannou barely got into the fight after his long hook to open up Anthony Joshua only caught AJ’s body. Right from there AJ opened fire with a straight right hand that ended Ngannou’s attempt to switch to southpaw. The jab sent Ngannou to the canvas for the first time. He survived but AJ had already done enough damage and sent fear to Ngannou.

Anthony Joshua (right) vs Francis Ngannou at the Kingdom Arena in Saudi Arabia on March 8
Getty Images

In round 2, Ngannou went forward with a left-hand lead but Anthony Joshua acted fast with another right-hand jab that sent Ngannou to the canvas for the second time in the fight. After Ngannou makes it up to his feet, AJ goes after him again with another heavy right hand to send Ngannou down for the third time, leaving him unconscious and ending the fight early.

Francis Ngannou lay down unconscious on the canvas after he was knocked down by Anthony Joshua during their match up at the Kingdom Arena in Riydah, Saudi Arabia on March 8, 2024
Reuters

Speaking post-fight, Joshua who has now secured two straight wins under Tyson Fury’s former trainer Ben Davidson said, “It is what it is. What I was saying, en route to the championship, you should stay focused. I stepped aside from the mission, I thought it was for the broadcasters for entertainment.

“But I saw him against Fury and thought ‘damn, he can fight’. We welcomed him, he’s a great champion. It doesn’t take away from his capability. He can come again, I told him he can stay in boxing. It’s up to him.

Francis Ngannou sits on the canvas after suffering an early knock down by Anthony Joshua at the Kingdom Arena in Saudi Arabia on March 8
Getty Images

“The Ben Davison performance centre [is the reason for my improvement]. I’m hungry, stay hungry and all that good stuff.”

Commenting whether it was his peak, he said he was not sure what it was but he is taking it as it comes. He also threw a jab at his critics who said he was finished when he suffered those back-to-back defeats against Oleksandr Usyk.

“I don’t know [if I’m coming into my peak]. It only takes one shot. If that was me, you’d be saying, ‘Joshua should retire’. I don’t know if I’m in my peak. I’m pushing day by day, who knows where it will take me? In five years I won’t be fighting no more, this will be a distant memory,” AJ said via Independent.

He, however, has his eyes on the big shot against either old foe Oleksandr Usyk or fellow Brit Tyson Fury. Fury and Usky will face off in May and go in for a rematch in October 2024. The winner will face Joshua and AJ expressed his desire stating, “I just want to fight – yes it is [the winner of Fury v Usyk].”

Reacting to the victory, Anthony Joshua’s possible ring adversary in 2024 Tyson Fury said AJ did “what a boxer should have done to him[Ngannou]”, a reference to his fight with the former UFC champion.

“I had a shit performance against Ngannou, styles make fights, I almost got it right, I said one round. He did fantastic tonight.

“It’s what a boxer should have done to him. Well done. If he fights me in the future, after I’ve fought Usyk twice, next year…”

Commenting on a possible fight with Joshua, Fury said it is a long way to go, urging AJ to try other options. He said Joshua can try other opponents to keep fit ahead of a possible matchup. Fury said Joshua could take on IBF’s number one ranked Flip Hrgovic for the soon-to-be vacant IBF title.

“There’s quite a long way to go, there’s always been a lot of shit getting in the way of it. I’ve got bigger fish to fry, 18 May, then we have a rematch in October. After that, if he’s still available and I’m available, let’s get it on.

“Yes, it goes both ways, he can do what he wants, whoever he fights, he can’t wait a year, inactivity is no good. After I beat Usyk, the IBF will be vacant, so maybe he can fight Hrgovic.

“I’m healing well, I’m not even in camp yet, I’ll go to camp at the end of March and I’ll spar then,” Fury stated.

Meanwhile, Francis Ngannou will take a break from boxing as he returns to the cage to face Renan Ferreira in his debut PFL fight after siging a lucrative deal last year.

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