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Boxing: Britain's Anthony Joshua vs Cameroon's Francis Ngannou

Boxing: Britain's Anthony Joshua vs Cameroon's Francis Ngannou
British heavyweight boxer, Anthony Joshua   -  
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Ian Walton/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

Saudi Arabia

There was friendly banter between Francis Ngannou and Anthony Joshua at their pre-fight press conference on Thursday, but things will not be so friendly when they face off against one another.

Franco-Cameroonian former UFC mixed martial arts heavyweight champion Ngannou surprised the world in his pro-boxing debut in October.

Although he ultimately lost to British WBC champion, Tyson Fury, he managed to down him in the third round sending shockwaves through the boxing world.

But Ngannou suggested at the conference that this was just the beginning and that much more was to come.

"I've been in the factory, building, training, learning. And I think when I really get it, that's when the world's going to be shocked,” he said.

“I'm just working, building, and learning about the sport. You know, the sport that I've loved my entire life. I didn't have the opportunity to really do it and get some experience.”

Ngannou added that he would love to knock out British boxer Joshua, who is a two-time world heavyweight champion in their 10-round fight in Saudi Arabia.

But for Joshua, it is also an important match as he looks to reestablish himself as a top contender and said he knows what he is up against in the ring with Ngannou.

"I spar, I do my film study, all that type of stuff, I keep it professional. But on the night is on the night, that's different. All that text book stuff goes out the window and you've just got to be relentless, give your best,” said the former champion.

Joshua, a former unified WBO, WBA, and IBF heavyweight champion, comes into the fight on the back of three successive wins.

However, before that he lost back-to-back fights against Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, who is due to fight Fury for the undisputed heavyweight title in Saudi in May.

If Joshua beats Ngannou, he will face the winner of that fight.

The bout between Ngannou and Joshua gets underway at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh on Friday at 23h GMT.

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