Francis Ngannou knocks out Tyson Fury at Anthony Joshua fight press conference

Francis Ngannou was more interested in a slugfest with Tyson Fury than upcoming opponent Anthony Joshua during the final press conference before their fight on Friday evening.

World heavyweight champion Fury sat front row in Riyadh to listen to what boxing newcomer Ngannou and his compatriot Joshua had to say ahead of the decathlon in Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh hosted Ngannou’s first bout in the ring when he narrowly lost to Fury in a split decision in October, and the former MMA star was happy to add fuel to the fire with the British heavyweight in a rearranged, undisputed bout will face Oleksandr Usyk on May 18th.

“I really think I didn’t shock the world. I’m still in the factory building, training, learning and I think if I really do it, the world will be shocked,” Ngannou said at a press conference.

“Like I said, I’m just getting started. So I’m really aiming for the win on Friday night, but I don’t think it will be the crowning achievement of my career because there’s still a long way to go and I really intend to have a lot of big victories like this.

“One about Tyson. Another one on Tyson because I had the first one on him and intend to have the second one.”

This prompted Fury to shout out Ngannou, who stunned the boxing world by defeating the Brit in the third round of their fight last year.

Ngannou replied: “I’ll wipe the ring with your ass again. You wipe the ring with your ass.

“I’m telling you, your only chance is in the boxing ring with the boxing rules. When you go out, you better stay five meters away before I stop you, because if I lose my mind, you’re going to have a really bad time, my friend.

I will share the ring with Francis. One day I’ll share the ring with Tyson. In the last fight I shared the ring with (Otto) Wallin

Anthony Joshua

“Respect the fact that boxing protects us. The rules of boxing protect us because without them you are nothing. I beat you every day. Twice on Sunday.”

Queensberry promoter Frank Warren had to temporarily intervene to get the “Knockout Chaos” media event back on track.

The winner of Friday’s fight is expected to face Fury or Usyk, who will eventually face each other on May 18 before a rematch later in 2024.

Joshua had no interest in provoking the prospect of an all-British showdown with Fury, which has failed in recent years.

“We are not looking beyond this fight. That is my main focus. The incentive and all that stuff? Just victory, that’s all. Let’s focus on my game plan and what I need to do,” Joshua insisted.

The former two-time world heavyweight champion is under no illusions about the task ahead, despite Ngannou’s limited boxing experience, but admitted he feels the “pressure to perform”.

Joshua added: “His dream was always to be a boxer, so I know what I’m up against. I look at all these little details, but I train, I do my film studies, all those things, I keep it professional.

“Night is night. That is different. All the textbook stuff goes away and you just have to be relentless. Do my best.

“It is our duty. We work for these people out here, you know what I mean? These are the fights they want to see.

“We’re here to entertain them, so I feel the pressure, but that’s life. “This is what I signed up for, this is what I’ve dedicated my life to, so take on any challenge, any competition and I will rise to the challenge place.

“I will share the ring with Francis. One day I’ll share the ring with Tyson. In the last fight I shared the ring with (Otto) Wallin. I signed to fight Baby Miller, I signed to fight (Daniel) Dubois, I signed to fight Bronze Bomber (Deontay Wilder), I’m serious about the game.

“That’s exactly what we do. It’s my duty to work for these guys and give them fun nights.”

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