Francis Ngannou felt like he was ‘falling asleep’ warming up for Anthony Joshua: ‘I was the only one that didn’t show up’

Francis Ngannou didn’t feel quite right in the moments leading up to his fight against Anthony Joshua, though he makes no excuses for his loss.

In just his second professional boxing match, the former UFC heavyweight champion found not even a fraction of the success he did in losing a razor-close decision to Tyson Fury. Instead, he suffered a knockdown in the first round and then got planted on the canvas in similar fashion in the second.

The end came just after Ngannou got back to his feet. Joshua blasted him with a huge overhand right that shut the lights out in dramatic fashion. Ngannou knew getting knocked out by Joshua was a real possibility, but even he didn’t expect it to go down like that.

“We all knew it could happen,” Ngannou said during an Instagram Live session on Wednesday. “I wasn’t seeing it happen like that, but I always knew it could happen. At least, I was always prepared for that.”

Before he walked to the ring that night, Ngannou said something didn’t feel quite right as he warmed up backstage. He’s sure it’s a feeling some of his past opponents have probably felt going against him, which is why he’s not diminishing Joshua’s performance.

“I remember being in the locker [room] trying to warm up, and bro, it wasn’t going,” Ngannou said. “I was falling asleep. I’m sweating, but I’m falling asleep.

“But I assume that’s how some people I have fought, some people that I beat have felt before, but it was basically my first time to feel that. That’s why I kind of took a couple days out, I took some time for me. I obviously had to reflect on everything that’s happened through the fight.”

Ngannou didn’t address the timing of the fight, but the card from Saudi Arabia went on for several hours, and the main event didn’t take place until after 3 a.m. local time.

Perhaps that played some part in how Ngannou felt as he warmed up, but he didn’t want to take away from Joshua’s victory. He also refused to put any of the blame on his coaches or teammates, because ultimately he knows everybody did their job that night … except him.

“Heads up to Anthony Joshua, to his team, that executed their plan properly,” Ngannou said. “Hats off to my team, too, because they did a great job. I think I was the one that just didn’t execute the plan properly and maybe didn’t feel completely present. I was the only one that didn’t show up, let’s say that.

“Everybody showed up and did what should have been done. No blame to anybody. All the blame is just about me. That’s the game.”

In the aftermath of the fight, Ngannou said he didn’t have any lingering effects from the knockout, though he’s seen doctors and already has an appointment scheduled with a neurologist. That said, he isn’t rushing to compete again, but it’s not necessarily over concerns about his health.

Instead, Ngannou said he wants to decompress after a very busy few months. He fought Fury for 10 rounds this past October and then effectively shifted gears to get ready for Joshua in March.

“I was conscious right after [the knockout], and since then everything’s been good,” Ngannou explained. “Still going to run some medical work, just in case.

“Right now, I don’t know exactly what the fight I will be looking for next. I know that I’m going to take some time to rest up, focus on myself, and then when I’m ready I will get back to training. Therefore we can start to discuss the fights. As for now, we will just live the life. Because always remember, it doesn’t matter what is your profession, there’s always a life, we have a life going on that will continue to go.”

Despite the setback this past weekend, Ngannou insists he’s not done with boxing, and he definitely plans on living up to his commitment to compete in the PFL. But he can’t say for certain what’s next. He knows there are plenty of challenges to conquer across both sports.

“I’m not done with boxing, I’m not done with MMA,” Ngannou said. “Basically right now, I have an opponent now in the PFL in Renan Ferreira. That will be my future opponent in the PFL, but again, I basically have a lot of fights in the future. I can still combine [sports], I will still be back in action. Not because I’m more comfortable in MMA that I will let boxing go. I’m still going to do both.

“It’s part of what we do. We take challenges. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work. But we are working on it.”

With Ferreira waiting in the PFL, Ngannou is still open to any potential opponents in boxing, which includes a potential showdown with fellow knockout artist Deontay Wilder. He’s not making any decisions yet, but he plans on staying busy once he’s ready to fight again.

“It’s not over yet – not at all,” Ngannou said. “We’re just getting started. The only thing that we will miss this year is time, and I think we have some good amount of time ahead of us. Going to take some time for myself, chill, spend time with my family, my friends and then come back ready.”

Source link

You May Also Like