Joe Joyce Offers Advice To Anthony Joshua From Sparring Francis Ngannou

February 29, 2024
2 months
Joe Joyce

British heavyweight Joe Joyce has warned Anthony Joshua to stay clear of Francis Ngannou’s power after sharing his experience of sparring the Cameroonian a few years ago.

Joshua and Ngannou go toe-to-toe on March 8 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in an event appropriately named ‘Knockout Chaos’. As the far more experienced and skilled boxer, Joshua (27-3-0 24 KO) is the heavy favorite to win. Yet despite being a boxing novice, former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou carries ferocious power which will make him a dangerous opponent.

Former British heavyweight champion Joyce is all too familiar with Ngannou’s power having sparred with him in 2020.

“Because he’s an MMA fighter and he’s not really been concentrating on boxing, he was a little bit more open and I could kind of see where the shots were coming from, move out the way and keep him on the jab,” Joyce told Sky Sports. “But them power shots are whistling past my abs and my chin in the process! We had a really good spar and I’ve got a lot of respect for Ngannou.”

Ngannou made his professional boxing debut in October last year in a high-profile crossover bout with Tyson Fury. Not given any hope against the unbeaten lineal world champion, Ngannou sent Fury to the canvas and boxed impressively on his way to a narrow split decision loss.

Joyce Warns About ‘Wild Card’ Ngannou

The Cameroonian’s full power was on display when he knocked Fury down in the third round, and Joyce is convinced a clean punch could keep Joshua down.

“Of course. If he lands one of those big shots like he hit Fury with then I don’t think Joshua’s going to get up from that,” Joyce said. “[Joshua] will probably be cagey in there. I think it’s going to be a good fight. As a match up they’ve both got power. I think it’s a great fight.

“He boxed really well against Fury. It’s an amazing story. Reached the heights of UFC and then challenged arguably the best in Tyson Fury and gave him a run for his money. He’s a bit of a wild card.”

The co-main event to Joshua vs Ngannou will see two of Joyce’s former opponents clash in the ring as WBO interim champion Zhilei Zhang takes on Joseph Parker. The former Olympic silver medallist stopped Parker in the 11th round of their September 2021 bout to capture the WBO interim title but suffered devastating knockout losses to Zhang in his last two fights.

Joyce admits he wants to see Parker win and believes the New Zealander has the tools to beat Zhang, although he is making the Chinese fighter the slight favorite.

Joyce Targets Big Fights

“[Parker] is a younger fighter than Zhang, if he can push him to those later rounds and Zhang gets tired that’s when you’ll see Parker put some shots together and he could potentially knock him out,” Joyce said.

“Parker can be a bit more of a mover, Zhang’s feet are very static but he holds that power and speed. He’s tough as well. So Parker’s going to have to box in and out. Maybe he’s better at fighting southpaws than me. If I was a betting man I would probably bet on Zhang. But I would like to see Parker win.”

As for his own fight plans, Joyce will make his return from those twin losses to Zhang on March 16 with a domestic bout with Kash Ali in Birmingham, England.

Joyce had made a steady ascent up the heavyweight rankings after achieving statement wins over Daniel Dubois and Parker, but the defeats to Zhang derailed his world title ambitions. However, he hopes to be back in the frame later this year.

“It’s all happening at heavyweight,” he said. “I think against any of those top names that we just mentioned would be great. A rematch with Parker, rematch with [Daniel] Dubois. There’s Wilder, Joshua, Fury, [Oleksandr] Usyk… I can box everybody. It’s the entertainment business and there’s plenty of good fights you’d like to see me in.”