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Irish insight into Joshua Ngannou

Andy Lee learned the hard way you underestimate Francis Ngannou at your peril and as a result is well
placed to warm Anthony Joshua against overlooking the Cameroonian when they meet next month.

Ngannou flirted with recording one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he faced Tyson Fury in
2023, despite him being seen as the huge outsider, there was quite a bit staked by those who bet online
which shows how much confidence there is in him as a fighter.

He turned what was meant to be a procession and event into a real fight, flooring the WBC heavyweight
champion in his pro boxing debut and only suffering split-decision defeat on the scorecards.

So as part of Team Fury the former world middleweight champion turned DAZN pundit and respected
coach is well aware of what the former UFC Champion brings to the table and warns the Brittian to be
mindful going into their March 8 clash.

The Limerick man, who trains rising Irish star Paddy Donovan as and New Zealand heavyweight Joseph
, believes former world champion, Joshua’s pedigree should get him over the line – but warns
Ngannou will be there until the death and has more than a slim chance of victory.

“Tyson hit him with a flush elbow, and he didn’t even flinch, I think that you could hit that man with a
baseball bat, and he would still be there. You have got to respect him in that sense, and he can punch,”
said the Kronk graduate when speaking to Boxing Social.

“Even though Joshua has the pedigree of being a really outstanding boxer, puncher, athlete, Olympic
champion, unified world champion and all of that, you have got to favour him but it is not a foregone

Lee points out the reasons its not deemed a foregone conclusion give Joshua the kind of advantage
former Irish heavyweight champion Fury never had.

Ngannou showed he is capable against Fury while ridding himself of the element of surprise, meaning
Team Joshua will know what to expect going into the Matchroom fight.

“People are going to be interested because Ngannou put on such a great performance against Tyson. It’s
a great situation for Joshua because all of those unknowns that Tyson went up against have been
dispelled now, the element of surprise in Ngannou is gone,” Lee adds.

When pushed on the specific qualities of the man who threatened to shock the world, Lee pointed to a
surprise level of ring acumen but says you can’t overlook Ngannou’s physical presence and power.

“You’ve got to give Ngannou credit, he was a lot more savvy and a lot better at boxing than anyone
might’ve given him credit for [in the build-up to the Fury fight]. He’s quite clever, he is very patient as well
and you can see that he is strong.

“Don’t underestimate being 280lbs of solid muscle, when you strip things back it is just two men and one of these guys is huge and is pure muscle.”

Meanwhile, Professional Fighters League CEO Peter Murray is adamant the former UFC champion is
more than capable of shocking the two-time heavyweight champ in Riyadh.

“Everybody underestimated Francis with Tyson, including Tyson. So, I think Francis has been training
constantly. He certainly won the crowd and the fan base around the world, and many would say,
including me, he won that fight,” Murray told Sky Sports. “But he’s on a mission and I would not
underestimate the big fella against AJ. It’s going to be a massive event. We’re excited for him, and we’ll
obviously be in his corner.

“I believe he can [beat Joshua]. Francis is only going to get better in his second showing. So I think it’s
on. It’ll be really fun event to watch. He’s the number one heavyweight MMA champion in the world. He’s
taken on boxing, his pro boxing career, his first event, against one of the best in the world and now his
second event against one of the very best in the world.”

“So, you know that’s always been part of Francis’s vision in this stage of his career and we’re proud of
him. Couldn’t be more excited for him.”


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years