Joshua Crushes Ngannou, Hearn Insists He’s the Best Heavyweight (But Is He?)

Promoter Eddie Hearn pronounced Anthony Joshua the best heavyweight on the planet following his second-round knockout of novice Francis Ngannou on Friday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Dominant Performance, Questionable Competition

Hearn is embellishing Joshua’s credentials by calling him the best heavyweight on planet Earth. Joshua has been twice beaten by Oleksandr Usyk, who has his number and would likely beat him a third time, even though Eddie insists he’s improved since their second fight.

You can’t say for sure that Joshua has improved by testing him against the best, meaning Usyk and Tyson Fury. The opponents Joshua has faced since losing to Usyk for the second time have been too marginal to say that he’s the best fighter or that he’s improved.

Joshua’s last four opponents:

– Francis Ngannou: Novice

– Otto Wallin: Journeyman

– Robert Helenius: Ditto

– Jermaine Franklin: Fringe contender

Joshua (28-3, 25 KOs), a fighter with 11 years of pro experience behind himself, was too much for the one-fight novice Francis Ngannou (0-2), knocking him down three times en round to a booming second-round knockout in their headliner on DAZN at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh.

The final knockdown came from a sizzling right hand thrown straight down the pipe, bowling Ngannou over. He fell on his back onto the canvas, where he lay perfectly still for several moments. He was out cold and unable to hear the screaming from the fans in the Arena.

Hearn Pushes for Undisputed Title Shot

After the fight, Hearn begged WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury to win his fight against IBF, WBA, and WBO champ Oleksandr Usyk on May 18th so that he and Joshua could meet for the undisputed championship.

If Fury loses that fight, it’ll be interesting to see if Hearn pulls the trigger on a trilogy match between AJ and Usyk or if he chooses to continue to match him against ex-MMA fighters and journeymen.

Ade Oladipo: “A lot of people say AJ is back. This is beyond back. I think this is the best AJ we’ve seen in a long time, maybe ever,” said Ade to the DAZN Boxing YouTube channel following Anthony Joshua’s second-round knockout win over Francis Ngannou on Friday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Eddie Hearn: “I’m so proud of him because there was a huge amount of pressure tonight. People were talking about if he was to lose to Francis Ngannou what would happen. He rolled the dice because His Excellency said that if we win this fight the winner of Fury vs. Usyk.

“There was a show here in October, it was called, ‘The Baddest of the Baddest’ to decide the baddest man on the planet. They shouldn’t have done it in October. They should have done it tonight because you’re looking at the baddest man on the planet right there [Joshua].

“You’re looking at the #1 heavyweight in the world, unquestionably. On this form, there is no man in the world that can beat him in the heavyweight division. I told you he’s going to come back and become the heavyweight world champion. There’s a brilliant fighter down there called Tyson Fury.

“Please beat Oleksandr Usyk on May 18th because I promise this. You will get the biggest fight in the history of the sport when Anthony Joshua takes the undisputed heavyweight championship. Ben, Leigh, the team, but most of all, Anthony Joshua, who has always stayed in the gym, always worked. He’s never taken a shortcut in his entire life.

“As a fighter, he’s an inspiration to young people, and I promise you, he ain’t getting beat. He’s the best heavyweight in the world. That was one of the most destructive knockouts I’ve ever seen.

“People talk about how Tyson Fury did against Ngannou. Forget about that. What I said would happen happened. He went in there and destroyed Francis Ngannou. This man is a savage beast and the best heavyweight in the world. I cannot wait for him to beat Tyson Fury,” said Hearn.