More stories

  • in

    Amir Khan backs Anthony Joshua to force Battle of Britain with Tyson Fury and reveals Francis Ngannou fight prediction

    AMIR KHAN has backed Anthony Joshua to knock out Francis Ngannou and force Tyson Fury to the negotiation table. Joshua faces Ngannou on March 8 in Saudi Arabia in the same Riyadh venue where Fury was dropped by the MMA star in October.
    Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou ahead of their March 8 boutCredit: Getty
    Tyson Fury fought Ngannou in his last boutCredit: Getty
    The Gypsy King needed a controversial points victory to escape with his unbeaten record and reputation barely intact.
    So if AJ can make mincemeat of Ngannou, it could rejuvenate demand for a Battle of Britain bout with Fury.
    Khan told SunSport: “If he gets the knock out or outboxes Ngannou and makes it look so easy, I think it will be a big statement in the world of boxing, especially the heavyweight division.
    “There’s still that talk that the Joshua and Fury fight should still happen so this is a good chance for Joshua to show how good he is.”
    Fury, 35, got off the floor in round three to escape with a disputed split-decision verdict in his favour.
    And he now faces Oleksandr Usyk, 37, on May 18 after a cut sustained in sparring forced him to postpone from February 17.
    Ngannou, 37, meanwhile turned his attention to Joshua, 34, after he was denied an immediate rematch with Fury.
    But AJ goes into the bout with ten rounds of valuable video evidence to study as Khan, 37, backed his fellow Brit to get the job done in style.
    Most read in Boxing

    He said: “Obviously, Ngannou surprised us all because that massive fight he had with Tyson Fury and how close the fight was, it could have gone either way.
    “I don’t know if Tyson took his foot off the gas, not expecting what he came to do.
    Amir Khan, 37, back in training and reveals mega-fight to bring him out of retirement while aiming dig at Jake Paul
    “But the fight with Joshua, Joshua’s gonna know now how hard he gave a fight to Fury.
    “So I’m sure he’s going to be on his A-game. He’s not going to make the same mistakes and he’s going to train very hard for this fight.
    “Because like I said, maybe Tyson overlooked him and thought it was going to be a walk in the park but really he surprised us all.
    “So I think this is only going to make Joshua train even harder. But, I got Joshua winning.
    “I think it could be a mid-round, mid-fight knockout maybe four, five, six rounds. Or, it could be a 12-round decision.”
    Amir Khan speaks to SunSport in Saudi ArabiaCredit: SunSport More

  • in

    Fans fear Anthony Joshua will be ‘sleeping for a week’ after Francis Ngannou BREAKS scale on punch machine

    FRANCIS NGANNOU has fans fearing Anthony Joshua will be “sleeping for a week” after BREAKING the scale on a punch machine. Ngannou faces Joshua on March 8 in Saudi Arabia in only his second boxing bout after making his ring debut against Tyson Fury in October.
    Francis Ngannou broke the scale on a punch machineCredit: Instagram / @ francisngannou
    Anthony Joshua faces Ngannou nextCredit: Getty
    The ex-UFC champion’s power was on full display as he dropped Fury in round three despite losing a controversial split-decision.
    Ngannou’s power has never been in doubt but he proved he is far more than just a heavy-hitter.
    Although if fans did need any reminding, the Cameroonian showed off his sensational strength on a punch machine.
    He effortlessly throws a right hand on the target and clocked the top score of 999 – leaving fans in fear for Joshua.
    One said: “If AJ gets caught with one of these, he’s sleeping for a week straight.”
    Another added: “That’s an absurd amount of power.”
    One said: “That is terrifying.”
    Another commented: “AJ is going to have a tough night, if anyone gets hit with a bomb like that it’s night night.”
    Most read in Boxing

    Ngannou’s frightening power was once tested and found to be the equivalent to 96 horse power.
    That means it carries the same ferocity as a 12lb sledgehammer being swung at full force or being hit by a moving Ford Escort.
    Francis Ngannou’s coach FEARS for Anthony Joshua’s health after fight with ‘ungodly’ ex-UFC champ
    Former kickboxer Dewey Cooper has been the man tasked with honing Ngannou’s hands since joining the camp in 2017.
    But along with Frenchman John Mbumba, their roles became even more important last year when Ngannou put on hold his MMA career to cross over to boxing.
    But Cooper admits neither him or Mbumba can take credit for his devastating power.
    Instead, he puts it down to Ngannou’s years spent working in sand mines in Cameroon for £1.50 a day from the age of ten.
    Cooper told SunSport: “As far as his punching power, no that was something that he naturally had.
    “He dug sand mines as a kid all the way up to his early 20s.
    “Of course, his DNA, his Cameroonian heritage and that hard manual labour as a kid all the way up, I feel was the main attribute to that ungodly power.”
    Ngannou with boxing coach Dewey CooperCredit: @DeweyCooper More

  • in

    I sparred Francis Ngannou years before Tyson Fury fight… I remember staying out of the way of his dangerous power

    WHEN Francis Ngannou knocked Tyson Fury down and took him to a split-decision the boxing world watched in shock – but not Joe Joyce. That is because before Joyce beat Daniel Dubois in 2020, he sparred then-UFC contender Ngannou in Las Vegas.
    Francis Ngannou dropped Tyson Fury on his boxing debutCredit: Getty
    Ngannou sparred Joe Joyce in Las Vegas in 2020
    What Joyce did not know is that three years later, Ngannou would put his MMA career on hold to make a sensational switch to boxing.
    And on his debut bout, he dropped Fury in round three only to lose a controversial decision.
    Joyce insisted Ngannou proved he could compete at the highest level of boxing, something he found out first hand all those years ago.
    He told SunSport: “I thought he boxed a great fight there, even knocked him down.
    “I thought it was very close. It just shows he can mix it at the top level. 
    “And from sparring him, I just remember staying out of the way of those power shots, the ones coming to the body and head. 
    “But I was a little bit more cute with my boxing, because I only train for boxing whereas MMA guys have to train in three disciplines. 
    “He started with boxing in the first place. It just shows you anything is possible.” 
    Most read in Boxing
    Ngannou won the UFC title two years after sparring Joyce but in 2023 he walked out on them to pursue boxing.
    And Joyce admitted: “I didn’t know he was going to go into boxing after that but it was a great opportunity for him to get that fight against Fury and he did really well in it.” 
    EXCLUSIVE: Ngannou wants Brit Hollywood star to play him in movie about crazy journey from sand mines to fighting Fury and Joshua
    Ngannou, 37, now faces Anthony Joshua, 34, on March 8 in Saudi Arabia in just his second boxing bout.
    Meanwhile Joyce, 38, is coming off his second consecutive defeat to China’s Zhilei Zhang, 40.
    The 2016 Olympic silver medallist now returns on March 16 against Kash Ali, 32, in Birmingham after refusing to retireme.
    Joyce is back with the freedom of not having to protect his unbeaten record as he eyes bigger bouts in the future.
    He said: “Right now, there’s so many different characters at the top of the heavyweight division where you’d like to see the match-ups. 
    “You wanna see me fight everyone really, everyone should fight everyone and especially now I’ve taken a loss, I don’t need to look after that coveted 0 and be scared to take fights. 
    “It means I can get in the mix with everyone, it doesn’t really matter.” 
    Joyce is back after two defeats to Zhilei ZhangCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun More

  • in

    I’m an MMA expert, Francis Ngannou will BEAT Anthony Joshua as Brit is easier to rattle than Tyson Fury

    MMA expert Dan Hardy has backed Francis Ngannou to BEAT Anthony Joshua because the Brit is easier to “rattle” than Tyson Fury. Ngannou put his cage career on hold last year to make a stunning switch to boxing.
    Anthony Joshua facing off with Francis NgannouCredit: AFP
    And in his ring debut, he astonishingly floored Fury, only to fall victim to a controversial points loss in Saudi Arabia.
    But the disputed decision did not stop AJ coming to the table to agree another crossover clash for Ngannou, set for March 8 in Riyadh.
    And ex-UFC star-turned pundit Hardy believes this is a more favourable match-up for the Cameroonian, who he expects to cause an upset.
    Hardy told Sky Sports: “I’m going with Ngannou genuinely.
    “I picked Fury in the last one. I felt Fury was going to be able to catch him fifth or sixth round once he started to get tired. But this for me is a much better match-up for Ngannou.
    “I feel like AJ’s easier to hit, easier to rattle psychologically and I feel like because of the unknown commodity of Francis Ngannou there’s going to be a shock to the system.”
    Hardy knows Ngannou is not going to be the only heavy hitter in the ring but he believes the former UFC champion’s power will shock Joshua.
    He said: “There’s an unquantifiable power about Ngannou and that’s concerning because he can punch through a decent guard.
    Most read in Boxing

    “I feel like AJ’s going to feel punches coming through his guard and they’re going to surprise him a little bit.
    “Because Ngannou will let them go and try and really hurt him. But they’ve both got to respect one another’s power.
    EXCLUSIVE: Ngannou wants Brit Hollywood star to play him in movie about crazy journey from sand mines to fighting Fury and Joshua
    “If Ngannou gets tired, he gets over-extended, he leaves himself open, AJ’s going to pick him apart and it could look like a very easy night for him.
    “AJ knows how to land and deliver a punch. He’s very precise. He’s very powerful as we know.”
    Dan Hardy has backed Ngannou to beat JoshuaCredit: Getty More

  • in

    MMA star Renan Ferreira scores 20 second KO in front of Mike Tyson to secure Francis Ngannou fight and huge $2m payday

    RENAN FERREIRA sent a brutal message to Francis Ngannou following his stunning 20 SECOND knockout of Ryan Bader. The Professional Fighters League champion headlined in Saudi Arabia against Bellator star Ryan Bader.
    Renan Ferreira knocked out Ryan Bader

    And not only would the winner leave Riyadh with bragging rights and a championship belt but also a life-changing bout against Ngannou.
    The PFL announced the victor would be the man to welcome Ngannou back to the MMA cage.
    And Ferreira made short work of Bader after dropping the former UFC contender with a right hand in the opening stages.
    It did not take very long for the referee to then jump in as the giant 6ft 8in Brazilian reined down brutal strikes.
    READ MORE IN mma
    Ngannou sat next to Mike Tyson cageside and watched on as Ferreira called him out following his KO of the night.
    He said: “I’m the record breaker, I’m the record setter. Francis, where you at? I’m waiting, let’s do this. I’m the champion out here.”
    Ngannou, 37, last year walked out on the UFC to sign for rivals PFL, who allowed him to pursue boxing along with his MMA commitments.
    He faced Tyson Fury, 35, on his boxing debut and astonishingly dropped the Gypsy King, only to lose a controversial split-decision.
    Most read in Boxing
    Now, Ngannou returns on March 8 back in Saudi against Anthony Joshua, 34.
    But the PFL have already confirmed he will fight Ferreira by the time he makes his MMA comeback.
    Boxing star Claressa Shields breaks down in tears after MMA win and reveals her arm nearly ‘SNAPPED’ in nasty submission
    And when Ngannou entered talks to sign with the PFL, he negotiated that his next opponent in the cage must be paid $2m (£1.5m).
    So Ferreira – who won the PFL’s $1m season last year – looks in line for another healthy payday when Ngannou swaps the ring for the cage. More

  • in

    Jon Jones throws shock support to Francis Ngannou in Anthony Joshua fight… but thinks MMA rival will LOSE boxing bout

    JON JONES threw his shock support to Francis Ngannou – but still backs Anthony Joshua to beat his MMA rival. Ngannou faces AJ on March 8 in Saudi Arabia having made his professional boxing debut in October against Tyson Fury.
    Jon Jones predicts Anthony Joshua will beat Francis NgannouCredit: DAZN
    Francis Ngannou with boxing legend Mike TysonCredit: DAZN
    The Cameroonian made a switch to boxing after walking out on the UFC and the offer of a $10million (£8m) payday to fight Jones.
    He instead signed for the Professional Fighters League, who gave Ngannou the freedom he always wanted to box at the same time.
    Jones joined the heavyweight cageside in Riyadh for the PFL vs Bellator event and he was probed on the boxing bout with AJ.
    And Jones replied: “I’m rooting for Francis to win, only because his story, how far he’s come in life and being a fellow mixed martial artist.
    “So I’m rooting for Francis but Anthony Joshua, he’s being doing this since he was a young boy and I’m the type of guy who just gives respect where it’s due.
    “So if I was to put my money on it – not that I gamble – I would put it on Anthony Joshua but I am rooting for Francis.”
    Ngannou, 37, astonishingly dropped Fury, 35, but still suffered a controversial split-decision loss.
    Although the performance was enough to bring Joshua, 34, to the table for another huge crossover clash in the desert.
    Most read in Boxing
    Meanwhile Jones, 36, is coming off a chest injury that forced him out of his UFC title fight against Stipe Miocic, 41, in November.
    He has since been called out by interim champ and British star Tom Aspinall, 30, while the PFL are open to a cross-promotion to fight Ngannou.
    EXCLUSIVE: Ngannou wants Brit Hollywood star to play him in movie about crazy journey from sand mines to fighting Fury and Joshua
    But Jones diplomatically said: “I feel like there’s a lot of fights that the world wants right now.
    “The Tom Aspinall fight is still really massive, Francis Ngannou and I would be really massive.
    “And Stipe, to the hardcore fans, it’s still a respectable opponent. I don’t know how the cards are gonna fall.
    “My prediction is I would beat Stipe Miocic, my prediction is I would beat Tom Aspinall and Francis Ngannou.
    “The way it unfolds is really not of my business my job is just to always do what I’ve done from day one.” More

  • in

    Ngannou wants Brit Hollywood star to play him in movie about crazy journey from sand mines to fighting Fury and Joshua

    FRANCIS NGANNOU’S rags to riches story is destined for the big screen – and he has a British movie icon in mind to play him. Ngannou was raised in Batie, Cameroon, by a single mum who split from his feared street fighter dad when he was six.
    Francis Ngannou was born and raised in Batie, CameroonCredit: @francisngannou
    Ngannou was raised in poverty before making his break
    The future world champion fighter was working in the sand mines from the age of tenCredit: @francisngannou
    The future world champion fighter was working in the sand mines from the age of ten, earning just £1.50 a DAY.
    He began training at 22 with the dreams of becoming a professional boxer but found his options exhausted in Africa.
    So at 26, he made the life-changing decision to emigrate to France in a journey that took over ONE YEAR.
    Ngannou opened up on his breakaway in an exclusive interview with SunSport in Saudi Arabia and said: “It was always tough.
    “That was a 14-month journey and what I do remember is that every step was tough.
    “You get from the first step, you think that you have seen it all and then the next step you have the same feeling, over and over.”
    Ngannou started his trip from Cameroon to Nigeria – where there is an open border between the two – but ran into trouble in Niger, where he needed a visa.
    He managed to cram himself into a pick-up truck with 25 people, as they crossed the Sahara desert to get to Algeria.
    Most read in Boxing
    From there, he managed to obtain an illegal passport to enter Mali and then proceeded through to Morocco, where things got really tough.
    Ngannou lived in the woods and would fend off rats to eat food out of bins to survive before attempting to get into Spain.
    Francis Ngannou’s coach FEARS for Anthony Joshua’s health after fight with ‘ungodly’ ex-UFC champ
    There, he was caught and imprisoned but due to his false passport, Spanish authorities were unable to deport him or keep him behind bars.
    Finally, Ngannou made it to France via train and it was there his journey ended and his fight career started.
    The journey was symbolic of Ngannou’s career – showing hope, courage, strength and character.
    He said: “The one thing that I do know for sure, there was not even a plan of going back or giving up. It was for me, my pride that was on the line.
    “And I don’t know, I watch a movie that I love so much and it says, ‘Better die for something than live for nothing.'”
    Ngannou initially wanted to pursue boxing in France but found it easier to find MMA fights, debuting as a pro in 2013.
    Fast forward eight years and he won the UFC heavyweight title and made one successful defence of the belt.
    But last year, he made yet another life-changing decision.
    Ngannou left Cameroon at the age of 26Credit: @francisngannou
    Here is Ngannou returning to his routes in the sand minesCredit: @francisngannou
    Ngannou’s journey to France took over a yearCredit: @francisngannou
    Ngannou walked out on the UFC as the reigning world champion to gamble on a move to boxing – as his theme of risky business continued.
    He said of his incredible life story: “Scariest moment? There was a lot of them. Stand out? I dunno.
    “Maybe when the inflatable boat was being put out into the ocean without knowing how to swim.
    “Maybe when I was running from border control. Maybe when you stand against a giant institution like the UFC. There’s a lot of moments.”
    Ngannou was offered $10million (£8m) to stay in the UFC for a super-fight with Jon Jones.
    He turned it down after they refused him the freedom to box and fight in MMA at the same time and chose not to extend his UFC deal.
    Ngannou, who signed for rivals the Professional Fighters League, had come too far and seen too much to give up on his boxing dream.
    He said: “Life is a risk. I have risked my life, so my life really is worth more than $10million.
    “So many times I had to make a lot of choices and take a lot of risks to get here.
    Ngannou pictured training back homeCredit: @francisngannou
    The Cameroonian only began training aged 22Credit: @francisngannou
    Ngannou had to live in the woods during his journey to FranceCredit: @francisngannou
    “There is a quote in our country, it says, ‘You can’t make an omelette without sacrificing eggs.'”
    Ngannou’s roll of the dice has paid off big time, having landed a boxing fight with Tyson Fury in October.
    He even floored Fury, 35, only to lose a controversial split-decision.
    But the shock performance earned him another mega-money bout in the ring, this time against Anthony Joshua, 34, on March 8.
    His pair of boxing bouts are set to bank the heavyweight hero over £20MILLION.
    It is the latest act in a remarkable story fit for Hollywood – and Ngannou has already earmarked boxing-mad Idris Elba to play him.
    He said: “I always thought about one person in mind, it was actually Idris Elba.”
    Most people could never have foreseen Ngannou’s move into boxing resulting in back-to-back blockbusters.
    But Ngannou – ever one step ahead – is not most people.
    He said: “I don’t think anything is guaranteed in life but I think everything is possible, so yes, I did think this could happen.
    “Otherwise, I wouldn’t leave my career in the UFC as a champion to take this route if I wasn’t certain it was going to happen.” 
    Ngannou wants British actor Idris Elba to portray his life in a movieCredit: Handout
    Ngannou made his boxing debut against Tyson FuryCredit: Reuters
    Anthony Joshua fights Ngannou on March 8Credit: Alamy
    The ex-UFC champ in training to fight JoshuaCredit: @francisngannou
    Ngannou is now signed to MMA promotion PFLCredit: @francisngannou More

  • in

    Ngannou’s next fight after Joshua confirmed with huge purses revealed as classy star negotiates more money for OPPONENT

    FRANCIS NGANNOU’S return to MMA has been CONFIRMED – and he has personally made sure his next opponent receives a huge payday. Ngannou put his cage career on hold last year to make a switch to boxing, where he has bagged himself back to back blockbusters.
    Francis Ngannou’s MMA return has been confirmedCredit: AFP

    But amid his ugly UFC exit, the heavyweight superstar instead struck a deal with the Professional Fighters League.
    The PFL gave Ngannou the green light to pursue his boxing ambitions while scouting for the right name to welcome him back to MMA.
    And now they have announced the winner between Saturday night’s bout between Renan Ferreira and Ryan Bader will end the search.
    Ngannou made his boxing debut in October against Tyson Fury, 35, scoring a stunning knockdown only to lose a controversial split-decision.

    But still he fights Anthony Joshua, 34, next on March 8 back in Saudi Arabia with his boxing earnings set to reach around £20MILLION.
    Ngannou is in Riyadh training for the bout and will be cageside to watch Ferreira, 34, and Bader, 40, headline the PFL vs Bellator event.
    And thanks to the Cameroonian, not only will the winner earn bragging rights and a belt but also a future $2m (£1.5m) purse.
    That is because when Ngannou entered talks with the PFL, he demanded his opponent be financially rewarded.
    Most read in Boxing
    PFL founder Donn Davis told SunSport: “The actual story is, Francis said, ‘I want my opponent taken care of. Too many people don’t think about their opponent.’
    “And we said great, we’ll guarantee your opponent $1million.’ And Francis said, ‘I appreciate that but how about $2m?’
    EXCLUSIVE: Ngannou wants Brit Hollywood star to play him in movie about crazy journey from sand mines to fighting Fury and Joshua
    “And we said, ‘Okay!’ It was Francis’ idea and Francis negotiated us up to $2m which we quickly and gladly agreed to.”
    Ngannou, 37, was offered $10m (£8m) to stay with the UFC for a super-fight with Jon Jones, 36.
    And Davis confirmed he matched that deal but also provided him with the chance to box at the same time and launch PFL Africa.
    He said: “Without ever breaching confidence of his deal, we’ve been public that his deal with the PFL is the exact economic deal that the UFC offered him.
    “What he wanted – and what the UFC would not give him – is the ability and flexibility to box – and to be a business leader and launch PFL Africa.
    “So he wanted two things what the UFC wouldn’t do and those two things are changing his life; the flexibility to box an the ability to be a true business owner as chairman of PFL Africa.
    “But the economic terms of when he boxes and the financial terms are the same with the PFL as they were with the UFC.
    “And I think that’s why you’re seeing more and more fighters coming our way.”
    Anthony Joshua and Ngannou ahead of their March 8 fightCredit: PA
    The winner between Renan Ferreira and Ryan Bader will welcome Ngannou back to MMA More