Francis Ngannou says he is ‘not done with boxing’ after Anthony Joshua knockout loss

Francis Ngannou won’t be deterred by his knockout loss to Anthony Joshua. Ngannou took sole responsibility for his poor showing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Friday, but said he felt unusual in the moments leading to his ringwalk.

Ngannou entered the ring as a live underdog against the former two-time unified heavyweight boxing champion. The belief in Ngannou was sourced from his remarkable showing against WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury in October. In this matchup, however, he looked every bit like a UFC fighter competing in his second professional boxing bout against the elite.

“We all knew it could happen,” Ngannou said on Instagram Live on Wednesday while reflecting on his second-round KO loss. “I wasn’t seeing it happen like that, but I always knew it could happen.”

Ngannou and his team arrived early in Riyadh to acclimate to the time difference. The headliners fought after 3 a.m. local time. It’s a setting Ngannou was familiar with after boxing Fury to a split decision loss last year, but the former UFC heavyweight champ said he felt unusually sleepy while warming up for Joshua.

“I remember being in the locker [room] trying to warm up, and bro, it wasn’t going,” Ngannou said. “I was falling asleep. I’m sweating, but I’m falling asleep.

“I assume that’s how some people I have fought, some people that I beat have felt before, but it was basically my first time to feel that. That’s why I kind of took a couple of days out, I took some time for me. I obviously had to reflect on everything that’s happened through the fight.”

Ngannou applauded Joshua’s team for their success. Ngannou also shielded his coaches from blame.

“Everybody showed up and did what should have been done,” Ngannou said. “No blame to anybody. All the blame is just about me.

“Heads up to Anthony Joshua, to his team, that executed their plan properly. Hats off to my team, too, because they did a great job. I think I was the one that just didn’t execute the plan properly and maybe didn’t feel completely present. I was the only one that didn’t show up.”

Ngannou suffered a scary KO loss to Joshua. Ngannou was knocked down twice prior, one apiece in Round 1 and Round 2. Joshua put all his weight behind a vicious right-hand moments after the second knockdown, dropping Ngannou cold. The UFC alum was on the floor for quite a while but now insists he’s in good health.

“I was conscious right after [the knockout], and since then everything’s been good,” Ngannou said. “Still going to run some medical work, just in case.”

A strong showing against Joshua, even in defeat, would have teed Ngannou up for big things in the boxing world. The ease with which Joshua beat him lent credibility to allegations that Fury simply didn’t prepare or take Ngannou seriously. Ngannou is currently signed to the Professional Fighters League and has a mixed martial arts return teed up against the promotion’s heavyweight champ, Renan Ferreria. Ngannou is committed to that fight but remains interested in future boxing endeavors.

“I don’t know exactly what fight I will be looking for next,” Ngannou said. “I know that I’m going to take some time to rest up, focus on myself, and then when I’m ready I will get back to training.

“I’m not done with boxing, I’m not done with MMA. Basically right now, I have an opponent now in the PFL in Renan Ferreira. That will be my future opponent in the PFL, but again, I basically have a lot of fights in the future. I can still combine [sports].

“It’s part of what we do. We take challenges. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work. But we are working on it.”


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