Sports

Anthony Joshua knocks out MMA star Francis Ngannou in 2nd spherical of heavyweight boxing match

Former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua stopped Francis Ngannou within the second spherical on Saturday, dominating his matchup with the ex-UFC heavyweight champ in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Joshua floored Ngannou within the first spherical and once more within the second with proper fingers at Kingdom Enviornment in Riyadh. He completed the battle with one punch instantly after the second 10-count, apparently knocking Ngannou out chilly with an unblocked proper hand.

The 37-year-old Ngannou finally obtained as much as his stool, however the combined martial arts star was dazed and clearly harm after his encounter with Joshua (28-3, 25 KOs) in solely his second professional boxing match.

The battle world had optimism for Ngannou after he gave a powerful efficiency in a near-upset of Tyson Fury final October, dropping by a slender cut up resolution. Joshua rapidly proved there isn’t any substitute for years of boxing expertise — and presumably revealed simply how calmly Fury handled his bout with Ngannou final fall.

Joshua got here out to manage the space together with his famously sharp jab, however Ngannou obtained in a number of good photographs early. Joshua abruptly floored Ngannou with lower than a minute left within the first spherical, firing a straight proper hand by Ngannou’s patchy guard.

Ngannou went down once more from an unblocked proper hand in an trade early within the second. He obtained up shakily, and Joshua rapidly ended the punishment.

Joshua has held a number of world heavyweight titles in a profitable skilled profession following his gold medal-winning efficiency within the London Olympics, however the Englishman needed to rebuild his repute after dropping his three title belts within the first of consecutive losses to Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and 2022.

Now 34, Joshua received his final three fights earlier than accepting this assembly with Ngannou, whose expertise and title recognition turned it right into a big-money matchup.

Joshua walks away after knocking out Ngannou. (Andrew Couldridge/Reuters)

Ngannou started his professional boxing profession final yr after a combined martial arts profession by which he claimed the UFC’s heavyweight belt in 2021 and defended it in 2022.

The Cameroon native then walked away from the UFC as a consequence of contractual disagreements and signed an progressive cope with the Skilled Fighters League. Though he has but to battle for the rival promotion, Ngannou is predicted to tackle PFL heavyweight champ Renan Ferreira later this yr.

However Ngannou was enticed by the large paydays of pay-per-view boxing, and he placed on an excellent efficiency in his ring debut whereas preventing heavyweight kingpin Fury to a split-decision loss in Saudi Arabia. Ngannou knocked down Fury within the third spherical and challenged him all through a defeat that confirmed Ngannou was far more harmful than some other MMA fighter that has made the not too long ago modern transfer into boxing.

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The end result sparked curiosity in Ngannou as a reputable contender within the heavyweight division, which has been repeatedly harm by promotional clashes and ego-driven disputes throughout an period that includes spectacular skills who have not fought one another as typically as they need to.

The primary occasion did not start in Riyadh till after 3:30 a.m. — even an hour later than the deliberate begin time, which was set in deference to the European and North American viewing markets.

On the undercard, heavyweight Joseph Parker rebounded from getting knocked down twice to say a majority resolution over Zhilei Zhang. WBC featherweight champion fought to a cut up draw with Nick Ball.

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