Francis Ngannou’s coach guarantees knockout of Anthony Joshua: ‘Lightning will strike twice’


Francis Ngannou’s freakish power put a scare in Tyson Fury, and his coach is confident that he can put Anthony Joshua down for the count.

Coach Dewey Cooper is predicting a knockout win this Friday for Ngannou, who faces heavyweight boxing star Anthony Joshua in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This will be just the second boxing match for the former UFC champion and current PFL fighter, but Cooper saw enough in Ngannou’s near upset of Fury this past October to call his shot.

Ngannou lost a split decision to Fury, but scored the lone knockdown of the bout in Round 3, a moment that sent the combat sports world into a frenzy. If he has the same kind of success with his power punches against Joshua, Cooper expects the bout to end inside the distance.

“Tyson Fury may go down, but he gets up,” Cooper said on The MMA Hour, when comparing Fury and Joshua’s durability. “He’s been dropped in numerous fights, even multiple times, but he gets up and he still fights. We can’t say the same for Joshua. So that’s just basic mathematics. Arithmetic-wise, you’ve got to say Tyson Fury’s definitely more durable, if not having the better chin.”

“In the heavyweight division, especially with a guy like Francis punching, everyone’s chin is [vulnerable] and can be broken,” Cooper continued. “So I’m not going to say [Joshua is] chinny, it’s just that if he gets hit clean in the heavyweight division, a lot of guys will go down. I don’t think he’s necessarily chinny, but does he have the wherewithal, the intestinal fortitude to get up? He did it against [Wladimir] Klitschko, but that’s a 40-year-old Klitschko. Can he do it against one of these tigers that’s hungry, that’s coming to hit you hard and really do some damage? We’ll see. A lot of questions are going to be answered in four days. Media said Francis was a hoax, didn’t take him serious. People said that Joshua’s chinny, etc. We’ll see in four days.

“But I can tell you one thing: Francis is ready to go. He’s ready to shock the world again. Lightning will strike twice.”

Given Joshua’s vast advantage in boxing experience, a Ngannou knockout would surprise many. But after he took Fury to the limit, it would likely be less surprising than if the outcome had been suggested six months ago. There’s also the fact that Ngannou earned a reputation as one of the most feared finishers during his time with the UFC, winning 10 of his 12 bouts inside the octagon via strikes.

Cooper was also asked to compare how difficult it is to prepare for Joshua compared to Fury, and while he conceded that Fury provided a fair share of headaches, Cooper and his team also have plenty of respect for the sheer punching power of Joshua.

“Tyson Fury, 100 percent, just because he’s trickier,” Cooper said. “Tyson Fury is way more dynamic. He’s multidimensional. He has many styles he fights, so he’s definitely trickier. But don’t confuse being tricky with being effective and being dangerous. Anthony Joshua, for sure, is the more dangerous opponent, Tyson Fury is the more trickier opponent.

“So we understand the danger of this fight and Francis is ready for it.”

“Good, old-fashioned power,” Cooper added, pointing out what makes Joshua a major challenge. “I knew Tyson Fury could not hurt Francis with one punch. Tyson Fury is a multitude guy, he wears you down with pace, numbers, and some dirty boxing. He burns you out psychologically first and then he just wears on you and breaks you down.

“Anthony Joshua actually has one-punch knockout power as well, so the danger element is more intensified against Anthony Joshua, and we understand that. Francis will be sharp, he’ll be smart, and most importantly he’ll be dominant.”

As much respect as Cooper has for Joshua, if the winner of Friday’s bout comes down to who hits harder, he knows who he’s betting on. He made sure to double down on his bold prediction, just in case there was any doubt.

“The furious, ferocious, feisty fists of Francis finishes Joshua in four more days.”


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