Anthony Joshua warned he faces 'absolute nightmare' after Francis Ngannou fight

Anthony Joshua warned he faces 'absolute nightmare' after Francis Ngannou fight

WATCH NOW: Latest sports round-up as Anthony Joshua prepares for his next fight

Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 08/01/2024

- 14:28

The former heavyweight champion will enter the ring in March

Anthony Joshua has been warned against fighting Zhilei Zhang after his upcoming bout against Francis Ngannou.

Former Olympic bronze medalist Frazer Clarke claims the Chinese fighter would be a 'nightmare' opponent for the Brit.

After three wins within the last year, Joshua will next take to the ring against MMA star Ngannou on March 8.

Victories over Jermaine Franklin, Robert Helenius and Otto Wallin since last April have built some momentum for the former heavyweight champion.

Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua has been warned of a potential future fight


Promoter Eddie Hearn recently stated that he would ideally like to set up a fight between Joshua and the winner of Tyson Fury v Oleksandr Usyk at some point this year.

Fury and Usyk will put their belts on the line on February 17 in Saudi Arabia.

However, Clarke does not think a fight against Ngannou is how Joshua should prepare for a potential title clash.

Ngannou has only had one professional boxing match before, the controversial defeat to Fury last October where many felt he deserved to win.

But Clarke is adamant Joshua will beat Ngannou much easier than Fury did.

He told Sky Sports: "The good thing is about that one [Ngannou], we've already had a look at him now.

"Before Fury was like the tester. He had to get in there when he wasn't quite sure and neither were we about what he was going to get.

"I think he [Joshua] can beat him and can beat him well.

"If the world title is your aim, then I would probably say you'll want a more competitive name on your resume to get back to that stage.

"You've been at the top, you've come down a bit, and you've now just fought Otto Wallin to bridge the gap.

"Maybe you need to bridge the gap again to the next level up to get you ready for the world titles. I'm not sure if Ngannou is that?

"Saying that he had a good performance against Fury, but then again, what does it come down to?

"I hate having this conversation with people, because it's not what people want to hear, but pound notes is a massive thing in boxing and I think ultimately that will do the talking."

Zhang has been touted as a potential opponent for Joshua.

Hearn confirmed there were discussions to fight the 40-year-old before the Ngannou bout was arranged.


Zhilei Zhang

Zhilei Zhang had been linked with a fight with Anthony Joshua


However, Clarke has warned Joshua that Zhang is the fighter he must avoid anytime soon.

Zhang has lost just once in his professional career, against Filip Hrgovic in 2022.

He brushed aside Joe Joyce in back-to-back fights in 2023 and Clarke doesn't see any positives of a potential fight with Joshua.

"[Zhang's] going to be the one most avoided now, if I'm honest," the 32-year-old added.

"I think he's an absolute nightmare for a lot of fighters.

Francis Ngannou and Tyson Fury

Francis Ngannou will fight Anthony Joshua in March


"He's a huge problem, he's a nightmare in the division.

"I don't think we'll see Anthony Joshua in the ring with him any time soon, unless it's for a world title in China.

"If anyone has got any brains about them, they'll learn from Joe Joyce's mistakes."

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