Francis Ngannou reacts to Anthony Joshua ending: ‘I didn’t feel the punch … that’s how I know I was knocked out’

Francis Ngannou can’t say for certain if Anthony Joshua hit him harder than anyone else in his career – he honestly doesn’t remember it.

The former UFC heavyweight champion addressed his stunning knockout loss to Joshua on Friday. He was dropped to the canvas three times inside two rounds, with the last shot putting him down for good; an overhand right from Joshua blasted him, and he was unconscious before he hit the ground.

“That was a clean one,” Ngannou said of the knockout blow while appearing at the post-fight press conference. “In fact, I didn’t feel the punch. That’s what the knockout is about. I don’t feel any pain. That’s how I know I was knocked out.”

Ngannou stayed down for several minutes after the knockout landed, but he eventually took some oxygen and got back to his feet. Afterward, he issued an apology on social media, stating “sorry guys, I let you all down.” He also called his loss “a bad day in the office.”

Reflecting on the loss minutes later, Ngannou credited Joshua for a job well done. Joshua scored a knockdown in the opening round and never let up until the finish.

It was Joshua’s right hand that gave Ngannou problems throughout the entire fight with all three knockdowns — including the finishing shot — coming from that side.

“It was quite special, because it stopped me,” Ngannou said about Joshua’s right. “It did what Tyson Fury couldn’t do.

“It wasn’t my day, and he’s just way better than me today. It sucks, but it’s the game, we all know that. It’s the game.”

The loss drops Ngannou to 0-2 in his boxing career, but falling to Joshua certainly doesn’t diminish his future options. As soon as the fight was over, Joshua encouraged him to stick with boxing, and those same words were offered as they shared the stage at the post-fight press conference.

Prior to the loss, Ngannou hoped to earn a rematch with Tyson Fury following a razor-close decision in their first encounter. Now, it remains to be seen if that will happen. Ngannou could also potentially face fellow knockout artist Deontay Wilder; the two danced around a possible fight after the former UFC heavyweight champion transitioned to boxing.

Of course, Ngannou already signed with the PFL for his next MMA fight, which is expected against Renan Ferreira after Fereira dispatched Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader in February.

Ngannou isn’t ready to make any commitments about what comes next, but he promises the loss to Joshua won’t put an end to his boxing aspirations.

“As for right now, I think I’m going to go home, get some rest, process what just happened,” Ngannou said. “This has been a hell of a day, since this morning. I’ll process it and see what is the next step.

“But maybe MMA, but you can be sure that I’m not done here [in boxing]. Absolutely not. I’m not done.”