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Anthony Joshua Brutally Knocks Francis Ngannou Out Cold in Second Round

Credit: Mark Robinson/Getty Images


On Friday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, British heavyweight boxing star Anthony Joshua took on former UFC heavyweight champion of the world Francis Ngannou in a ten-round boxing match, which saw Joshua deliver a devastating knockout blow to Ngannou, leaving the Cameroonian on the canvas for over a minute. 


Joshua made Ngannou look like a fish out of water on Friday night. The former two-time unified WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight champion put on a boxing masterclass, demonstrating why MMA and boxing are two completely different sports. Joshua knocked Ngannou down immediately in the first round and followed up with another devastating knockdown in the second. Ngannou was on the ropes, stumbling across the ring, which is where Joshua delivered the knockout blow with 2:38 left in the second. It was Joshua’s signature right hand that sent Ngannou crumbling. 


A lot of MMA fans and even boxing fans around the world speculated that this fight would go in a different direction than it did, especially with the performance Ngannou put on against one of the greatest of all time Tyson Fury just six months ago. On October 28, 2023, Ngannou took the WBC heavyweight champion to a split decision, even scoring a knockdown against Fury and stunning fans around the world. This helped add some fuel to the fire in terms of seeing Ngannou fight some more heavyweight stars.


Against Joshua however, Ngannou was completely out of his depth. When Ngannou fought Fury, Fury seemed to simply pay no mind to Ngannou’s boxing abilities. He lacked a solid training camp and went into the fight expecting his technique and experience to carry him to victory, which was evidently not the case. In Joshua’s case, he had a full camp and trained as if he were fighting for the belt, which evidently paid off for the Brit. 


With another victory under AJ’s belt, his record now sits at 28-3 with 24 victories coming by way of knockout. For Ngannou, his professional boxing record sits at 0-2, which isn’t too surprising considering he’s fought two of the best boxers in the world in his first two boxing fights ever. With that in mind, what’s next for the two heavyweight marvels?


Ngannou vs. Joshua

Credit: Richard Pelham/Getty Images


Joshua seems to have rediscovered his ruthless streak, which consists of his brutal punching power and sharp technique. After dismantling Ngannou quickly and making himself look superior to the WBC champ Tyson Fury in the process, Joshua looks primed to take on the winner of Fury vs. Usyk, which will take place in May for the undisputed title. 


However, Joshua has already lost to Usyk twice. The Ukrainian beat Joshua handedly twice, making him look like an amateur. Despite those two losses, this newfound attention and improvement to Joshua’s boxing career could easily keep the rematch conversation alive. If Fury is forced to pull out of another fight with Usyk, this time scheduled for May, a third fight between Usyk and Joshua could very well be in the cards. 


What makes more sense for Joshua however, is to take on Joseph Parker, who claimed the interim WBO heavyweight belt on Friday's card after defeating Zhilei Zhang. They have fought before which saw Joshua outpoint Parker on the cards in 2018. However, Parker has massively improved since that 2018 bout, defeating Deontay Wilder in December and Zhilei Zhang last night. A rematch between the two could set up the next challenger for the winner of Usyk vs. Fury, which would ultimately be for the undisputed WBC heavyweight title. 


Ngannou is in a bit of a different position. The MMA fighter has a few different paths he could consider. After leaving the UFC in January of 2023, he signed with a rival MMA organization, the Professional Fighting League (PFL), as he would be able to earn more money and have more freedom with the PFL. Instead of taking on another heavyweight boxing legend, Ngannou should consider getting his first fight with the PFL under his belt. 


Ngannou should look to take on Renan Ferreira, who currently holds a 13-3 record with 11 knockout victories. He’s arguably the PFL’s hardest hitter, which would go perfectly with Ngannou holding the title of MMA’s hardest-ever puncher. Ferreira is currently on a four-fight win streak, and for Ngannou who seems to be chasing greatness and money now, Ferreira is the perfect fight to kickstart Ngannou’s PFL career. 


If Ngannou were to take on another boxing opponent, a matchup with Deontay Wilder could be very intriguing for fans. Wilder is easily one of the hardest hitters heavyweight boxing has ever seen. Wilder, however, is far from being the most technical boxer, which is where Ngannou could have a chance. Wilder thrives off landing massive shots which essentially devastate his opponents for the rest of the fight. Ngannou is similar, which is why this matchup is so interesting.


Joshua vs. Ngannou

Credit: Richard Pelham/Getty Images


Regardless of where Ngannou chooses to go next, he deserves his respect. Two fights into his boxing career and he’s already fought the who’s-who of today’s boxing scene. His performance against Fury was outstanding, and his confidence in taking on Joshua shortly after is commendable. The Cameroonian has come from absolutely nothing but worked his entire life to be in the exact position he is today. 


Although the knockout was devastating and Francis was completely outclassed, there should be no option for him to retire from boxing. Not only does his name draw in masses of fans to watch him box, but he truly does pose problems for boxers who he should have no chance of beating. 


It will be interesting to see what moves Francis makes next. He should be very smart about his next decision, as a knockout loss in either MMA or boxing could halt this run of success that Francis has been on since he left the UFC. 


Whatever happens, Ngannou has earned his keep in the world of combat sports. Through his will, dedication, and outstanding abilities, Ngannou has cemented his name in the history books.



Edited By: Josh Reidelbach



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