Lead trainer of Joseph Parker and coach of Tyson Fury, Andy Lee, has issued a warning to Anthony Joshua ahead of his upcoming clash against Francis Ngannou, admitting that the Cameroonian was better than he and everyone else thought when he faced Fury.
Ngannou floored Tyson Fury in the most eye-catching moment of 2023 with a knockdown that will be remembered for years to come, despite the debutant’s eventual split-decision loss on the scorecards against the WBC heavyweight champion.
In an interview with Boxing Social, Lee declared that Joshua should not be underestimating his opponent.
“People are going to be interested because Ngannou put on such a great performance against Tyson. It’s a great situation for Joshua because all of those unknowns that Tyson went up against have been dispelled now, the element of surprise in Ngannou is gone.
“You’ve got to give Ngannou credit, he was a lot more savvy and a lot better at boxing than anyone might’ve given him credit for [in the build-up to the Fury fight]. He’s quite clever, he is very patient as well and you can see that he is strong.
Don’t underestimate being 280lbs of solid muscle, when you strip things back it is just two men and one of these guys is huge and is pure muscle.”
Lee went on to joke that the toughness of Ngannou means ‘AJ’ may need a baseball bat to stop the former UFC sensation.
“Tyson hit him with a flush elbow and he didn’t even flinch, I think that you could hit that man with a baseball bat and he would still be there. You have got to respect him in that sense, and he can punch.
“Even though Joshua has the pedigree of being a really outstanding boxer, puncher, athlete, Olympic champion, unified world champion and all of that, you have got to favour him but it is not a foregone conclusion.”
Joshua-Ngannou takes place on Friday March 8th, with full undercard details now officially confirmed.