Joshua vs Ngannou: UFC star says he has not shocked the boxing world, YET

Francis Ngannou says he has not shocked the boxing world YET as he prepares for that mammoth showdown vs Anthony Joshua on Friday night in Riyadh (live on DAZN PPV and Sky Sports Box Office).

Former UFC superstar Ngannou produced an astonishing performance on his professional boxing debut last October, decking world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury before only losing via a controversial split decision.

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A man seen beforehand by many as a no-hoper was all of a sudden a hot property in the sport’s marquee weight class. He earned a record payday for that Fury fight, and he’ll top it on Friday when he earns a reputed $20million for taking on another heavyweight titan in Joshua (27-3).

Ngannou only just getting started

But while the boxing world now believes in Ngannou, his boxing smarts and his granite chin, he says the surface has only just been scratched – and there is much much more to come.

He said: “I really think I haven’t shocked the world. I am still in the factory, building, training, learning and when I really get it, that is when the world is going to be shocked. I am just working and learning about the sport I have loved my entire life.

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“Now I am getting the opportunity to really do it, get some experience and now I can do something really nice. I trust the process, I trust my team and the work we are putting in. It is going to pay off.

“Everything is a clue, every space where there is an opening, I am going to hit. I am not going to leave any stone unturned or any opportunity unexplored.”

Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou Press Conference Heavyweight Boxing Riyadh Saudi Arabia
Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou face off ahead of their heavyweight boxing showdown in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 8, 2024 (Photo – Round n Bout Media/Queensberry Promotions).

Ngannou on Joshua

Joshua was mightily impressive in his last outing, retiring Sweden’s dangerous Otto Wallin after five brutally one-sided rounds on that massive ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in December. But Ngannou says do not expect things to be like that come Friday night.

“It was a flawless performance, a great performance [by AJ in December] and I watched the fight closely. For me it doesn’t mean anything because I know I am no Wallin. It is a different opponent and it will be a different feeling. When we get in the ring, that is when we know the fight.”

Friday night’s bout will only take place over 10 rounds – there are no titles on the line – and even Ngannou admits that is a struggle.

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“I do struggle to do 10 rounds and, if you don’t, then you are not human. Everybody gets tired after 10 rounds and I have no problem with it because it is a learning process and I am here to learn. This will be the best so far, but I am only just getting started.”

Should Ngannou pull off the upset on Friday night (he is a 3/1 underdog right now) he will be just one fight away from the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world. He believes the story is only just beginning.

“I am really looking to get the victory on Friday night but I don’t think this will be any statement on my career because the road is still long. The reason I am here is because I always believe in myself, I do my best, but I cannot control the outcome. I believe in my determination, my dedication and the work I put in in order to have what I want.”

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