Joshua’s ‘Got Too Much Respect For’ Ngannou

Anthony Joshua will look to hand Francis Ngannou his second loss as a professional boxer.

The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion, Ngannou (0-1 in boxing, 17-3 in MMA), shocked the world with his valiant effort against Tyson Fury in October 2023. Although he came up short via a closely contested split decision (watch highlights), “The Predator” proved to be well-capable of competing with the best boxers on Earth.

A keen watcher of the upcoming match will be former world Heavyweight boxing champion, Shannon Briggs, who firmly supports his sport in the civil war against MMA fighters. The build up hasn’t looked good for the 34-year-old Joshua, however, explains “The Cannon.”

“I think this fight, two things, I think that he’s fighting a different guy in Joshua,” Briggs told MMA Mania. “He’s gonna be prepared knowing that what he did with Fury and I think — I don’t like and it scares me, Joshua respects him too much. He’s got too much respect for him. I can see it in his eyes. He can’t respect him, and I don’t see the same thing in Ngannou’s eyes. I see in his eyes: I’m gonna get you.

“Tell me if I’m crazy,” he continued. “They’re both [African], right? Ngannou feels like I’m the real [African]. He’s looking at him like, ‘You’re a real English man.’ Animal behavior (laughs). I see it. I see these things.”

Outside of his encounters with Andy Ruiz and Oleksandr Usyk, the Watford, England native, Joshua (27-3), has been flawless in the boxing ring. “A.J.” will ride a three-fight winning streak into his match with Ngannou. He compiled all of those wins in 2023 with the last against Otto Wallin, whom he defeated via fifth-round corner stoppage in December 2023.

Ultimately, the Fury outing was an upsetting one for Briggs, who feels the performance gave MMA fighters an irrational confidence boost. Briggs, 52, will also get the chance to fend off an MMA fighter in boxing when he welcomes Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to the ring on June 8, 2024.

“I thought it was a draw or Fury by one. He was making the fight and all that,” Briggs said. “Disappointed. Very disappointed in that fight. It really gave a lot of confidence to these MMA pa’s. They really think that they got a shot, and I knew that they would get better, but I can’t believe it, bro.

“Rampage, the thing with him is, he’s gonna train really hard for this fight because he knows,” he continued. “He’s so stupid he’s gonna overtrain. He don’t even understand the science behind it, but I ain’t gonna tell him nothing (laughs).”

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