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Anthony Joshua Stops Francis Ngannou Early

Anthony Joshua takes Down Francis Ngannou Early on In The Fight

Knocked To The Floor

Francis Ngannou proved to be more of a spectacle than a legacy builder…

In boxing news, former WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua knocked out former UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, midway through the second round on Friday night in Saudi Arabia.

Anthony Joshua Stops Francis Ngannou Early
Fayez Nureldine / AFP

Anthony Joshua has been a prizefighter in search of a title since he lost his belts in two consecutive decisions to Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and 2022. And although his latest match against former UFC champion, Francis Ngannou, proved to be more of a spectacle than a legacy builder, it did generate worldwide interest and a packed house at Kingdom Arena in Saudi Arabia last Friday night.

Ngannou had only one professional boxing match on his resume, a split decision loss to reigning WBC heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, before his fight over the weekend against Anthony Joshua. However, Ngannou was lauded for his losing effort after knocking Fury to the mat in the third round but ultimately coming up short on the judge’s scorecards (94–95, 93–96, 95–94).

His impressive debut performance immediately landed him as the No. 10 fighter in the world in the WBC rankings which rendered him instant credibility against any top-tier fighter. Boxing rumors began to swirl that Ngannou would be pitted next against former world heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua at the same venue, Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he had battled brilliantly against Fury.

Wakeup Call For Ngannou

Unfortunately for Ngannou, Anthony Joshua did not take the powerful Cameroonian lightly, as many believed Fury did when he appeared unprepared as evidenced by a lackluster early start. The disparity in boxing skills was apparent right from the opening bell as Joshua dominated the ring and did not allow Ngannou any safe haven from the thunderous overhand rights that connected unimpeded.

Ngannou would hit the canvas once in the first round and twice in the second, with the last being the knockdown that caused the referee to wave off the fight. The final blow that sent Ngannou crashing to the mat may have ended not only his night but also his brief dalliance in the world of professional boxing.

Meanwhile, Anthony Joshua’s stats now include 25 knockouts over his 28 wins and the pot is brewing yet again for an Anthony Joshua versus Tyson Fury showdown. Yet, Fury has a heavyweight unification title tilt with the same man who defeated Joshua on two occasions, Oleksandr Usyk, on May 18th, and is contractually obligated to a rematch in October.

Great performance from AJ, fantastic, but unfortunately I’ve got bigger fish to fry in Usyk on May 18th, then we have a rematch in October. After that, if he’s still available and I’m still available, let’s get it on.”

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