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    Saturday, March 9, 2024

    Joshua Gets Second-Round KO Win Over Ngannou

    Anthony Joshua knocked out Francis Ngannou in devastating fashion in the second round for a stirring victory in Friday's heavyweight bout in Saudi Arabia.

    Joshua, the British star, knocked down Ngannou in the first round, knocked him down again in the second round and then delivered the knockout punch at 2:38 of the second round.

    The knockout blow, a powerful right hand, left Ngannou out cold. Ngannou, the former UFC champion, was down on the canvas for more than a minute and received oxygen, according to the DAZN broadcast.

    The victory was the fourth straight for Joshua (28-3) after his back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine.

    “For me, I don’t know if I’m coming into my peak,’’ he said. “I’m just pushing day by day.’’

    It was a stunning setback for Ngannou, who knocked down Tyson Fury during his pro debut in October and looked impressive in a split-decision loss. But Joshua, the two-time world champion, was in control from the outset Friday.

    Joshua, 34, said he was captivated by Ngannou’s bout with Fury.

    Recalled Joshua, “When I saw the fight with him and Fury, I was like, 'Damn, this guy can fight.' So I said, 'I need a piece of that.’ “

    But after the fight started Friday, Ngannou, the 37-year-old native of Cameroon, spent almost as much time on the canvas as he did on his feet.

    “He’s a great champion,’’ Joshua said of Ngannou (0-2) after scoring the 25th knockout of his career. “And this doesn’t take away anything from his capabilities. …He can come back.’’

    Anthony Joshua, Francis Ngannou show mutual respect after fight

    About 10 minutes after Anthony Joshua’s postfight press conference began, he had company.

    In walked Francis Ngannou, the man Joshua had flattened with a devastating knockout punch in the second round of their heavyweight bout Friday.

    The two shook hands and later posed for a photo that was posted on Joshua’s verified account on X, formerly Twitter.

    Asked by a reporter how special Joshua was, Ngannou replied, “Well, he was quite special because he stopped me. He did what Tyson Fury couldn’t. It wasn’t my day and he was just way better than me today.’’

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