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Tyson Fury expects Anthony Joshua to win, admits his own performance against Francis Ngannou was poor

Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou. Photo credit: Getty Images

WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury 34-0-1 (24) is expecting rival Anthony Joshua 27-3 (24) to have any easier time of it against Francis Ngannou 0-1 than he did.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou, 37, will be having just his second professional boxing bout against England’s Joshua, 34, following his 10-round split decision loss to Fury in their non-title bout last October. Joshua and Ngannou will clash at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Friday night.

In that fight Ngannou decked Fury with a big left hook in the third round but the 35-year-old Brit steadied to ship to win by scores of 95-94, 96-93 and 94-95.

Fury was criticised for taking the fight lightly in training camp and for his performance on the night despite coming away with the victory.

He expects former two-time unified heavyweight champion Joshua to do better against Ngannou than he did.

“I’m expecting AJ to win, for sure. He’s a boxer, isn’t he? A former two-time world champion,” Fury said to iFL TV.

“I wouldn’t go on my fight at all. It’s a totally different fight and styles make fights. I didn’t have a good performance, as we all know, it was a piece of shit from me.

“I’m not complaining, things happen in life and you get on with them.”

He added: “I couldn’t sit here today and put my right hand to God and say if he’s any good or not, Ngannou.

“One thing I do know is, he’s a tough old boy because I hit him with some good, clean shots and I even hit him with a full elbow right in the face and he never budged.

“So, he’s a tough fella, that’s what I can say. And he’s a strong old feller as well.

“But can he box? Not really.”

If Joshua is successful, there is hope that the money men behind Friday’s ‘Knockout Chaos’ card will be able to put together the long-overdue fight with Fury, who will face WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine champion Oleksandr Usyk 21-0 (14) in Saudi Arabia on May 18.

“We’re not looking past this fight,” Joshua said. “This is my main focus. The incentives and all that stuff — is just to win. That’s it. Focus on my game plan and what I’ve gotta do.

“We’re happy. Straight out war. Relentlessness. A good fight. That’s what everyone’s here for.

“I’m getting paid for this [laughs].”

In contrast to Fury, Joshua insists he is not taking Ngannou lightly.

“His first dream was to be a boxer, which people forget,” Joshua said. “He was part of the Cameroonian team.

“I know what I’m up against. I look at all these small details.

“All that textbook stuff goes out the window.

“It’s already written in the stars what’s gonna happen. I’m just gonna follow my destiny.

“I feel the pressure. But that’s the life. That’s what I signed up to do.

“I’ve been in the ring with [Joseph] Parker. I’ll share the ring with Francis. One day I’ll share the ring with Tyson. I’ve shared the ring with [Otto] Wallin. I signed to fight ‘Bronze Bomber’ [Deontay Wilder]. I’m serious about what I do.

“It’s my duty to work for these guys and give them entertainment.

“The best man will always win. It’s not rocket science. One of the main things I’m looking forward to is showing how good I am.

“I’m looking forward to the occasion.”