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Anthony Joshua celebrates victory over Otto Wallin at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 23 2023. Picture: RICHARD PELHAM/GETTY IMAGES
Anthony Joshua celebrates victory over Otto Wallin at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 23 2023. Picture: RICHARD PELHAM/GETTY IMAGES

Bengaluru — British heavyweight Anthony Joshua said he wants to deliver a statement win by knocking out former mixed martial arts champion Francis Ngannou in their boxing bout in Saudi Arabia on Friday.

Joshua, who lost his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts to Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk in 2021, has won his past three fights as the 34-year-old looks to re-establish himself as a top contender in the division.

"I believe I can knock him out," Joshua told Sky Sports in an interview published on Monday.

"Definitely. I would love to knock him out and make a statement. Physically I feel strong, feeling good. Strong enough to get the job done and mentally I’m in a place where I’m ready for war. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

"Mentally I don’t worry so much about my opponent and look at what my opponent can bring to me and think, ‘how can I overcome these challenges they present?’ I work really hard to up my game and look forward to showing everything I’ve worked on."

Ngannou, 37, vacated his UFC heavyweight belt after a contract dispute with the promotion company and exited as a free agent in January 2023. He made his pro boxing debut in October against Tyson Fury, losing via split decision in the non-title fight.

Reuters

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