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Anthony Joshua hopes Francis Ngannou sticks with boxing if he falls to 0-2: ‘He’s a good addition’

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Anthony Joshua sees Francis Ngannou as one of his peers going into Friday’s boxing match.

After originally dismissing former UFC heavyweight champion’s transition to boxing, Joshua has admittedly changed his tune going into his rapidly approaching 10-round encounter with Ngannou, which takes place at Kingdom Arena (pay-per-view).

“I thought this whole crossover thing wasn’t serious,” Joshua told MMA Junkie on Friday. “If I would’ve taken a crossover fight, people would’ve been like, ‘What the F is Anthony Joshua doing?’ I wouldn’t have been able to walk out of my house. But now people are taking it more seriously because of the last fight (with Tyson Fury). So it helped as well to get me motivated and take the fight, because it gives me a chance to show how great I am.”

Ngannou exceeded expectations in his boxing debut in October when he pushed Fury to his limit in a split decision loss. “The Predator” showed he can hang at the top level, at least for that night, but will have to prove himself all over again against another decorated foe in Joshua.

One thing that is hard to question after the Fury fight is the durability of Ngannou. Joshua recognizes that, and has formulated his game plan around it.

“People have put dents in me,” Joshua said. “I’ve still managed to do well. I’ve seen him. People have never put a dent in him. Don’t bank on putting a dent in him because you’re going to come up short, so find another way. That’s why I believe there’s so many ways to skin a cat. Has he lost before? Yeah. So there is a blueprint.”

Joshua intends to skin that cat and drop Ngannou to an 0-2 record in boxing. Does that mean Ngannou should be done with the sport, though? Joshua argues absolutely not.

“He’s a boxer (now),” Joshua said. “It’s his choice (if he wants to go back to MMA). I think he’s a good addition. He adds some global supporters as well. … It’s great for boxing as a whole.”

For more on the fight, visit MMA Junkie’s hub for Joshua vs. Ngannou

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie