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Garcia: I Think Joshua Will Knock Ngannou Out

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Trainer Robert Garcia has tipped Anthony Joshua to defeat Francis Ngannou when they fight in Saudi Arabia in less than two weeks.

Garcia worked with Joshua for one fight, the rematch defeat to Oleksandr Usyk, before he was replaced by Texan Derrick James who, in turn, has made way for Ben Davison in the Joshua corner. 

But despite the changes in coaching personnel, Garcia said activity for Joshua was key and three fights last year – against Jermaine Franklin, Robert Helenius and Otto Wallin – has allowed Joshua to improve with activity as the former heavyweight champion looks towards Ngannou on Friday, March 8.

Ngannou’s only pro boxing fight saw him lose a close points decision to current WBC heavyweight champion Joshua last October, also in Saudi Arabia, but his performance has caused many to believe that the former UFC heavyweight champion is a real factor in the heavyweight division, with the WBC ranking him No. 10 after the defeat.

However, Garcia felt what happened between Fury and Ngannou was down to what Fury did not do rather than anything that Ngannou did.

“I think he [Ngannou] had a great performance because Tyson Fury, I don’t think he trained one single day for that fight,” offered Garcia. “I think he [Fury] thought it was going to be a walk in the park and it came to be that Francis was in great shape and was hungry to prove everybody wrong, and he did. 

“But I think it was more because Fury was just not in shape, didn’t train, [and] was not ready.”

Having worked closely with Joshua, Garcia does not think Joshua will make the same mistakes. Joshua has eyes on a future fight with Fury, even though Fury is tied into two bouts with Usyk, starting with their rescheduled Saudi Arabia clash on May 18.

Joshua is 34-years-old and won gold at the London Olympics in 2012. He stays in shape between fights and keeps working.

“I think Anthony Joshua is always in shape,” Garcia told IFL. “Anthony’s a very dedicated fighter, I think Anthony will knock Francis out.”

Garcia said it was not just the fact that Joshua stayed ready that was going in his favor, but his recent activity, having fought in April, August, December and now again in early March.

“After the fight we had with him, myself and Rudy Hernandez told him and his team, ‘Keep him busy, stay busy,’ because that’s what a fighter needs,” recalled Garcia. 

“That’s what someone like Anthony Joshua needed. Him fighting once a year was wrong for them, so we talked about keeping him busy and even though it’s not with me, I’m happy they kept him busy last year, three times last year and he’s got a fight coming up soon, so they’re keeping him busy and that’s the best thing they could have done.”

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