Francis Ngannou says he was ‘tricked’ as he makes excuse for Anthony Joshua knockout

Ngannou was knocked out in the second round out in Saudi (Picture: Getty)

Francis Ngannou says he was ‘tricked’ into arriving at the venue for his fight against Anthony Joshua way ahead of schedule, believing the timekeeping affected his final preparations ahead of the opening bell.

In his just his second professional boxing match, the former UFC heavyweight champion took on two-time world champion Joshua in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

While he took Tyson Fury the distance last October, Ngannou was swept aside by Joshua, who floored him with a thunderous shot in the opening round.

The Cameroonian was put down two more times in the second round with the fight waved off after that third explosive shot from Joshua.

The main event did not get underway until approximately 12am at night – 3am local time – with Ngannou explaining he had been told to arrive at the Kingdom Arena at a certain time with Joshua arriving much later.

Such was the wait, the MMA star revealed he was ‘falling asleep’ back stage as he waited to make his ringwalk.

‘I remember being in the locker [room] trying to warm up, and bro, it wasn’t going well. I was falling asleep. I’m sweating, but I was falling asleep,’ he told Instagram live.

Francis Ngannou was beaten by Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia

Joshua dominated Ngannou (Picture: Getty)

‘But I’m sure that’s how some people that I have fought and have beaten have been before .. no blame on anybody, the blame here is all on me.

‘It is the game unfortunately. We all knew it [the knockout] could happen. I wasn’t seeing it happen like that, but I always knew it could happen. At least, I was always prepared for that.’

Francis Ngannou was beaten by Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia

Joshua needed less than two rounds to take care of business (Picture: Getty)

Ngannou also explained to the MMA Hour the timing of his arrival and the wait until the opening bell was ‘a trick to get you tired’, something he feel may have affected his performance.

‘Listen, I think we both fight at 3am,” Ngannou told The MMA Hour. “It’s not like I fought at 3am and he fought at like midnight or something. We both fought at 3am.

‘What I think, something that’s happened is that they get me to the arena very early. Like my pickup time was 10.30pm to go to the arena. And then when we get to the arena, they tell us that we are scheduled around 1.45am.

‘They come to the locker room around 1 and Joshua [was just arriving around 1]. I’m like, “OK, we are fighting at the same time, how come I have a pickup time?” We received a schedule, an email, and then for some reason I was there at least one hour before.

‘But for the fight, at least two hours beforehand. They do this kind of trick to get you tired. I was like cool. I didn’t know how it was, how important that was, until the fight day that I have to get there two hours before.’


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