Francis Ngannou is the man who shocked the world by taking the Lineal and WBC Champion Tyson Fury to the limit, losing narrowly in a controversial split decision in his pro boxing debut. But, with his second bout in Saudi Arabia now set, the former UFC Champion turned heavyweight boxing contender will seek to cement his status as a future world champion when he faces the former unified titlist Anthony Joshua at ‘Knockout Chaos.’ M&F joined media from around the globe to be at the epic pre-fight press conference held in London, and we learned from Ngannous’ head boxing coach, Dewey Cooper just how they intend to make the most out of every available moment to prep.
A bona fide MMA superstar, Francis Ngannou entered the world of boxing when he competed in the ‘Battle of the Baddest’ against Tyson Fury, which opened Riyadh Season on Oct. 28, 2023. It was a fight for the ages as Ngannou landed a left hook and dropped Fury toward the end of the third round. While the champ got to his feet and eventually won on points, many within the boxing world felt that Ngannou had done enough to take the title.
Although he had lost the fight, Ngannou’s strong debut shocked the world and stamped his name as a legitimate world title contender. To that end, he will face Anthony Joshua at “Knockout Chaos” on March 8. AJ, a former WBA, IBF and WBO World Champion is back on form after winning his last three fights and defeated Otto Wallin in five rounds just at ‘Day of Reckoning.’ It was a fight that many critics felt marked his return to the elite end of the heavyweight rankings, but in order to become the champion once again, he will first need to get past the wild-card that is Ngannou. It is understood that the winner of this fight will likely box the winner of the upcoming to Fury versus Oleksandr Usyk bout in order to claim a brand-new Undisputed Boxing Championship belt.
Spending much of his time in training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Ngannous’ Head Boxing Coach, Dewey Cooper had a plan to use every available minute for training rather than travel. Rather than head back from the London press conference, team Ngannou instead boarded a flight straight to Saudi Arabia. “We’re here to train and fight, we’re here to train and prepare for the fight, so time is of the essence,” Cooper told M&F of their upcoming Saudi stay. With Ngannou’s breakthrough boxing success against Tyson Fury coming after just four weeks of intensive training, the coach intends to use the extra time available until March 8 to get the former UFC Champion acclimatized to the environment in Riyadh. “All work and dedication makes fight night just celebration,” added Cooper. “We’re here to work, and then Francis (will) win his fight on March 8.”
Cooper understands the process of getting ready for a fight more than most. He is a former boxer and two-time world kickboxing champion who went undefeated between 2001-2004. Hiis understanding of boxing and MMA is proving to be a huge asset for Ngannou, who also recently signed to fight with the PFL. The man they call “The Predator” pledges to continue silencing the doubters when he takes to the ring for his second professional boxing fight. “People have always doubted me and I always proved them wrong,” said the Cameroon-born star in an interview with Matchroom boxing ahead of the conference. “It is clear I am a trouble for elite boxers and AJ should prepare himself for a battle because I am like nothing he has ever faced. It is going to be another spectacle for boxing fans in Riyadh, only this time I have no intention of leaving it in the hands of the judges.”
If Francis Ngannou and Cooper were able to rock the current champion with just four weeks of training, the boxing world waits with wonder to see what he can to with this extra preparation time against Anthony Joshua.
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