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Francis Ngannou vows to continue boxing dream despite brutal Anthony Joshua knockout

Anthony Joshua says Francis Ngannou is an "asset to the fight game" and encouraged him to continue boxing after beating the former UFC heavyweight champion with a ruthless second-round knockout in Saudi Arabia on Friday night

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Highlights of Anthony Joshua's stunning knockout victory against Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou insists his boxing days are not over yet despite suffering a crushing second-round stoppage defeat to Anthony Joshua on Friday night.

The former UFC heavyweight champion was knocked out cold from the last of three total knockdowns in what marked his second professional boxing bout since stepping across from MMA.

Build-up to the fight had centred around Ngannou's remarkable boxing debut against Tyson Fury in October, during which he floored the WBC heavyweight champion with a left hand that shocked the boxing world while stringing together 10 impressive rounds in what proved a divisive split-decision defeat.

Any danger of him going one better in his second outing was quickly erased as Joshua connected on three destructive right hands. Ngannou, though, remains keen to continue fulfilling his childhood dream of being a boxer.

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Watch all angles of Joshua's incredible knockout punch which ended his fight with Ngannou

"You can be sure I'm not done here. It wasn't my day. He was way better than me," Ngannou said.

"It sucks but it's the game. We all know that."

Ngannou, who had required lengthy treatment on the canvas such was the ferocity of Joshua's finish, afforded himself a smile as he joked in the aftermath that he had not even felt it.

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Jose Mourinho was ringside for the bout between Joshua and Ngannou, and the former Roma boss did not disappoint with some camera work of his own!

"That was a clean one," Ngannou said of the knockout punch. "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.

"It was quite special because it stopped me. It did what Tyson Fury couldn't do."

Joshua's performance delivered another statement at the top of the heavyweight division, with Fury watching on from ringside in view of a prospective meeting with his British rival should he come through two fights with Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed world championship this year.

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Joshua says he wants the winner of Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk after his devastating KO win over Ngannou
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Ngannou signed with the Professional Fighters League last May after walking away from the UFC following the expiry of his contract. While boxing remains in his plans, it was also recently announced that Ngannou will fight PFL heavyweight champion Renan Ferreira later in the year.

"As for right now, I think I'm going to go home, get some rest, process what just happened," said Ngannou. "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."

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Fury was left seemingly impressed by Joshua's devastating KO of Ngannou

Joshua was quick to offer his support to Ngannou after his explosive knockout win, paying tribute to the 37-year-old's inspirational journey while encouraging him to stay in the ring and continue to learn.

"Don't let this discourage you," said Joshua. "Don't let success get to your head, and you should never let failures get to your heart. I think he's an asset to boxing. I think he's an asset to the fight game. Don't be discouraged, and I respect you regardless. I said it before, and I still stand on it. I know we had to fight, but I just told him, 'Keep your head high'."

Book repeats of Anthony Joshua's heavyweight showdown with Francis Ngannou at 6am and 4pm on Saturday on Sky Sports Box Office. Book Joshua v Ngannou repeats now!

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