Francis Ngannou clashes with Tyson Fury at Anthony Joshua news conference 0

Ex-UFC champion Francis Ngannou clashed with Tyson Fury and says he is “just getting started” in boxing before his heavyweight fight with Anthony Joshua.

Ngannou faces Joshua in Saudi Arabia on Friday but opted to do his best verbal sparring with former opponent Fury at Wednesday’s news conference.

Joshua took a back seat as Fury reacted to Ngannou’s suggestion he had “struggled” in their October bout.

“I had one win over [Fury] and I want one more,” Ngannou said with a grin.

Fury shouted back that he would face Ngannou in the “octagon” – the UFC’s trademark cage – to which the French Cameroonian replied: “Your only chance is in a boxing ring, with boxing rules.”

Ngannou was the UFC’s reigning heavyweight champion when he left the promotion last year.

The 37-year-old made his boxing debut against Fury four months ago and suffered a contentious split-decision loss – but sent shockwaves through the sport by dropping the WBC champion in the third round.

Ngannou and Fury clashed at Saudi powerbroker Turki Alalshikh’s house on Tuesday and the MMA star was in a bullish mood on Wednesday with the Briton in the audience.

“I’m just getting started. I don’t think that [beating Joshua] will make any statement of my career because the road is still long,” he said.

The remarkable possibility remains that Ngannou could fight for a world title in his third boxing bout, should he beat Joshua in what is only his second fight.

“I really think I haven’t shocked the world yet,” he said, adding he is “still learning” the art of boxing.

Joshua, 34, appeared relaxed at Monday’s grand arrivals and a little tetchy at the open workouts the following day.

He was more jovial at the news conference but in what is becoming a theme in AJ fight weeks, the Watford-born man was reluctant to give any soundbites or engage in verbal jabs the closer the bout comes.

Asked for his response on Ngannou saying he will look for a knockout, Joshua succinctly replied: “Let’s go. The best man will always win. It’s not rocket science.”

There was a respectful and light-hearted exchange between the headliners when Ngannou handed his opponent a set of wireless headphones. Joshua often attends news conferences with music playing in just one ear.

Promoter Hearn predicted his fighter will become undisputed champion, with Friday’s winner a potential next opponent for either Oleksandr Usyk or Fury – most likely in 2025.

Usyk, who holds the WBA, WBO and IBF titles, faces WBC belt-holder Fury in May for the undisputed heavyweight title, with a rematch already agreed.

Source: BBC