Anthony Joshua’s stock in the world of heavyweight boxing is once again heading north after three wins in 2023 – each one more impressive than the last.
He did that in some style with a decision victory over Jermaine Franklin, a knockout of Robert Helenius and an utter beatdown of dangerous Swede Otto Wallin.
Joshua, working with new trainer Ben Davison for the first time, drew rave reviews for that five-round domination of Wallin. A victory which set up his next fight – a crossover blockbuster vs former UFC heavyweight king Francis Ngannou on March 8.
Ngannou of course will be having only his second pro fight as a boxer, but he impressed massively in his debut – a narrow points defeat by Tyson Fury after having ‘The Gypsy King’ on the floor.
While Ngannou admits Joshua was impressive in dispatching Wallin, he believes he knows the reasons why the Swede just was not competitive on the night.
Ngannou on Joshua
He told Matchroom Boxing: “He had a great performance from his last fight. But I mean Otto Wallin wasn’t proposing anything as well on the other hand. It looked to me like he lost the fight before he got into the ring.
“He respected him so much maybe based on what he knows about him, from being his opponent in the amateurs to being his sparring partner.
“I think Anthony Joshua had a psychological domination over him at some point and you could see that in the fight that he wasn’t there.
“But still, Anthony Joshua had a great performance.”
The stakes for Ngannou and Joshua are huge in that March 8 showdown – they know that the winner is likely to get a shot at the undisputed heavyweight title against the winner of that upcoming February 17 unification showdown pitting Fury vs Usyk.