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Ngannou’s Trainer: Joshua’s Under Pressure To Do Better Than Fury

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Francis Ngannou’s trainer Dewey Cooper has predicted a stoppage victory over Anthony Joshua when they fight on Friday evening. 

Cooper was asked for his prediction on the date in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and answered: “I’m taking Francis Ngannou by stoppage.”

“Every time we go to fight the goal is victory, but we are trying to dominate our opponent and stop them,” he continued. “So, either knockout or unanimous-decision win, we’ll take it, but we always go in with the intent of stopping whoever is in front of us.”

Cooper was oozing with confidence when talking of his fighters’ abilities but was by no means under the impression that Joshua would be an easy task. 

“We’re looking forward to March 8, showing the world how great [Ngannou] actually is and taking out Anthony Joshua,” he said.

“I rate Joshua as two of the three top heavyweights in the world today – he’s been a terrific champion. He’s an Olympic gold medalist so of this era he’s one of the greats. We rate his punch power very highly. That’s what’s so intriguing about this matchup; you got two power punchers in there.”

The two-time world champion recorded wins over Jermaine Franklin, Robert Helenius and Otto Wallin in 2023. Cooper, when asked for his thoughts on those performances, which followed successive defeats by Oleksandr Usyk, joked when he said: “He’s back.

“He had three very impressive fights in a row in 2023 – he looked tremendous. He’s going to get something different; something that the world of boxing has never seen. He’ll feel that storm, he’ll feel that strength and he’ll feel that spirit of a true warrior on March 8 coming at him.”

The Olympic gold medallist fought a range of styles as an amateur and has faced all-time greats like Usyk and Wladimir Klitschko as a professional, but Cooper believes that Ngannou presents a new challenge. 

“He’s never faced anyone like Francis,” he said.

“This is only Francis’ second boxing fight, so of course Francis has never faced someone like him. But he’s the experienced boxer; he’s the Olympian; he’s two-time world champion. He’s never experienced anything like Francis Ngannou.”

“It’s a tall order to do a 10-round fight in your first fight. It’s an even taller order to fight the undefeated lineal champion [Tyson Fury] while he’s still in his prime. I knew we could do it; I was happy with the way it went. I was unhappy with two people that night, and those were the two judges that had us losing.”

Cooper believes that Joshua will be feeling the pressure to outperform Fury again to force a clash between them after in December stopping Wallin – an opponent Fury also struggled against. “There shouldn’t be [added pressure], but absolutely there is.

“For years everyone wants to see who’s the best out of Anthony [Joshua] and Tyson Fury. So of course there’s added pressure, but it won’t matter because we’re going in to the fight to dismantle and defeat Anthony Joshua.

“So, no matter what he’s going through, he has to face this big old strong Cameroonian named ‘The Predator’ Francis Ngannou. So that’s gonna be enough already; any added pressure is just gonna make it worse.”

Cooper, who has been tasked with training his fighter to take on both of the two fierce rivals, was also asked how different a challenge they both are. 

“They’re both difficult because they’re both legitimate world champions and really high-level boxers,” he said. 

“It was hard to get sparring partners for Tyson Fury because of his style. He’s a highly dimensional boxer. I don’t like to use the word easier because nothing’s easy about prize fighting, but it was much less difficult getting the right sparring partners in for this engagement. That’s about it; we got the right guys. Francis has prepared very intelligently, very diligently, and it’ll all show March 8.”

After the highly intriguing clash between Ngannou and Joshua, Coopers’ attention turns to season two of Team Combat League, which kicks off on March 28. The dramatic first season was a huge success and fans can expect more knockout action from teams coached by boxing legends Manny Robles, Jeff Mayweather and Austin Trout.

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