Joshua Defies the Odds: “Stranger Things Have Happened”

By Michael Collins - 03/04/2024 - Comments

Anthony Joshua isn’t under the perception that his fight against novice Francis Ngannou is a ‘mismatch’ on Friday.

Ngannou has the power to defeat Joshua if he connects with one of his big shots on him. Joshua would have had trouble taking the punches that Francis landed on Fury without getting counted out.

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Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) points out that he came out of nowhere with no amateur experience, and within three years, he captured a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics and then won a world title in just three years in the professional ranks.

In Ngannou’s case, he started out as a boxer before he turned to MMA, so the transition has been easier for him to return to boxing. Moreover, he’s got massive power, size, sturdy chin and courage that makes him different than the typical fighter that is just starting out.

The combination of Ngannou’s power and size makes him a tall order for anyone in the heavyweight division, particularly Joshua, who Joe Joyce quite accurately points out is a “glass cannon,” meaning he’s got power but shatters to pieces if hit hard.

Even Oleksandr Usyk had Joshua shook in their first fight so tells you that he’s got issues when it comes to taking punishment in return.

Joshua’s Rapid Ascent

“On paper, but in reality, isn’t there?” said Anthony Joshua to the media when asked if his fight against Francis Ngannou should be a mismatch due to him being a 0-1 novice. “Look at how I came up in the game.

“I came out of nowhere, and in three years, I got myself to the Olympics and become Olympic champion. In three years, I became a world champion. So, stranger things have happened in life, but I’m here; I’m a different beast. I’m ready,” Joshua continued.

As far as the Olympic gold medal, Joshua is leaving out some facts about several of his wins in that year’s competition being questionable. Many felt that Joshua lost to Erislandy Savon [Cuba], Roberto Cammarelle [Italy], Ivan Dychko [Kazahstan], and Zhilei Zhang [China]. Whether Joshua would have won the Olympics in 2012 if it hadn’t taken place in London is unknown, but there’s debate that he got very generous scoring in his favor.

Focused on Personal Growth, Not External Validation

“I’m not focused on any credit from anybody. I never have, I never will. I enjoy fighting, and that’s all I do it for,” said Joshua when asked if he feels he’ll get credit from fans if he knocks out Ngannou on Friday.

I think it does matter to Joshua that he gets credit from boxing fans. He can say it doesn’t, but obviously it does.

“It’s something within me, I can’t explain it. I just feel like I’ve got a great opportunity to travel the world and express myself to this beautiful sport that I love and challenges me. I learn so much about myself, and that’s all I care about, how far I’m going to push myself,” said Joshua.

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