Alistair Overeem Backs Francis Ngannou To Beat Anthony Joshua: ‘Strongest Guy I Ever Fought’

Overeem believes we'll see a much different version of Ngannou in the ring on Mar. 8.

Overeem On Ngannou
(via The Stomping Ground/YT, @francisngannou - Instagram)

Francis Ngannou has got a huge ‘confidence boost’ ahead of his second boxing match. 

The former UFC Heavyweight Champion (0-1 in boxing, 17-3 in MMA) returns to the ring for the first time since losing a controversial split decision to Tyson Fury last October. The high-profile opponents keep coming for Ngannou as he takes on former world champ Anthony Joshua (27-3) on Mar. 9 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Overeem: ‘There’s No Nerves’ For Ngannou:

While Joshua is hands down the more accomplished boxer, Ngannou can hold his head high, knowing he knocked down Fury in his boxing debut. Former UFC foe Alistair Overeem says the highlight will play dividends for Ngannou’s confidence in this upcoming performance against yet another boxing great.

“Anthony Joshua. What can I say? Season veteran, right? He’s in a nice fight rhythm as well. So, I assume we’re gonna see a very sharp, very strong Anthony Joshua,” Overeem told ‘The Stomping Ground‘. “But then again, on the other hand, Francis Ngannou has the power. I think he’s built on his confidence, right? Going into the boxing ring for the first time. There’s some nerves there. It’s gonna work out, if it’s not gonna work out, 10 rounds, right?

“When he was a champion, he would do five for five minutes, but going into 10 rounds. Yeah, there’s some nerves there, right? How it’s gonna work out. You’re fighting a big man, Tyson Fury, a big heavyweight. So, but I think right now there’s no nerves. He’s got the weight advantage. He’s been through 10 rounds— he’s felt it, he’s done it. He knocked Tyson Fury down. That has been a huge confluence boost.”

‘We’re Gonna See A Different Francis Ngannou’

At 37 years old, Ngannou continues to prove the doubters wrong. What experts thought would be a walk in the park for Tyson Fury turned out to be one of his most difficult challenges to date. What UFC CEO Dana White thought was ‘easier competition’ outside the Octagon for his former star turned out to be fighting boxers at the highest level. 

With all that and more in a story that first started in Cameroon, Alistair Overeem thinks we’ll see ‘The Predator’ 2.0 when he enters the ring with Anthony Joshua.

 “I think we’re gonna see a different Francis Ngannou,” Overeem continued. “Don’t wanna take anything away from Anthony Joshua, he’s a great champion and an icon in the sport. But, if I would have to put my money on somebody, it would have to be Francis because of his life path, a lot of obstacles. So inspiring. But, his way of facing adversity and overcoming adversity time and time again, makes me look at him a little bit different. I fought him as well, so I know how strong he is and I think he’s the strongest guy I ever thought.”

It was Francis Ngannou who turned off the lights for Overeem in their 2018 fight, punching his ticket to his first title fight with a ferocious uppercut— arguably the best knockout of his fighting career. Having felt the power up close and personal, Alistair Overeem thinks we’ll see another knockout from Ngannou on Friday. 

Published on March 7, 2024 at 12:52 pm
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