BOXING

Dillian Whyte: Francis Ngannou had ‘false confidence’ for Anthony Joshua fight

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“I just knew that AJ’s experience and his power would be too much”; Dillian Whyte was not surprised that Anthony Joshua knocked out MMA star in second round in Saudi Arabia; British contender returns against Christian Hammer in Ireland on Sunday

Dillian Whyte says Francis Ngannou’s “false confidence” was punished by Anthony Joshua and he fully expected the MMA star to be brutally beaten.

Joshua ruthlessly overpowered Ngannou on Friday night, flooring the former UFC heavyweight champion twice before a huge right hand ended the fight in the second round in Saudi Arabia.

But Whyte was far from surprised by the outcome as he believes Ngannou failed to fix technical flaws after dropping Tyson Fury in a hotly-disputed split-decision defeat last October.

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“Francis is not experienced enough to beat the top guys. He got a bit complacent because he did well against Fury but Fury didn’t take him seriously,” Whyte told Sky Sports.

“Fury just thought he was going to outbox him and he gave Fury some problems but that was his undoing.

“I think that fight gave him false confidence to the point where, when he was getting hammered with big punches, he stayed in the pocket and he wasn’t trying to move his head or hold or anything.

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“So, I knew it was going to happen and I picked AJ to win anyway.

“AJ is a puncher and you don’t just stand up in front of someone like AJ with your hands basically down and then switching stances mid-fight against a right-handed puncher. Why did he go southpaw? It didn’t make any sense.

“I just knew that AJ’s experience and his power would be too much. I thought Francis would be a little bit better, to be honest, but Francis… he’s doing boxing, but it’s not recognised boxing training so he hasn’t covered the basics.

“Someone like AJ, an experienced gold medallist, all these world title fights, he covers the basics on a daily basis and that is where Francis came unstuck.”

Whyte, who was originally linked with an Ngannou fight before Fury and Joshua, believes he would have inflicted a similar result.

“I tried to fight Ngannou four years ago,” he said. “I would have definitely knocked him out. I said I would fight him in boxing and MMA.

“I always believed I could knock him out because the boxing ability isn’t there.

“I think he is a good fighter but I don’t think he is a good boxer.

“I believe I would have been able to find a hole, hit him with body shots, and catch him with right hands.”

WBC champion Fury was watching from ringside ahead of a potential future fight with Joshua following his upcoming undisputed world title fight against Oleksandr Usyk on May 18.

“I think Tyson is always worried about punchers, or anyone that can knock him out, but the thing is, Tyson is nowhere near as raw as Ngannou is,” said Whyte.

“As a professional world level boxer, it is kind of hard to take away anything from the fight because AJ has knocked out a massive puncher and a big guy but when you look at it strategically, from a boxing standpoint, there is nothing in it.

“You are talking about a world champion fighting someone at ‘Southern Area’ level. If that’s ‘Southern Area’ level? Because some of the heavyweights at ‘Southern Area’ would beat him.”

Whyte will return to the ring against Christian Hammer on Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, in Castlebar in the west of Ireland.

The former WBC interim champion has been cleared to continue his career after an investigation confirmed that a positive drug test was caused by a contaminated supplement before a rematch with Joshua was cancelled last August.

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“I am very excited, it is very good to be back and I’ll be looking at opportunities in the future,” Whyte told Sky Sports.

“I have been meaning to return to Ireland for a while, I have got family from here and they can come down to the fight.

“Christian Hammer, he is a guy I know, tough guy. Experienced in a lot of fights. It’s a very good fight, considering I have been off for 16 months. Very good fight to come back to.

“I still want the world title and I still want to fight all the big fights. There is a lot of big fights going on and I want my name to get back amongst the mix and to prove I can still beat these guys.”

 

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