Joshua playfully hints at MMA move as training footage emerges after Francis Ngannou win | Boxing | Sport

Joshua playfully hints at MMA move as training footage emerges after Francis Ngannou win | Boxing | Sport

Heavyweight boxing superstar Anthony Joshua exhibited some new strings to his bow as he demonstrated his kicking ability during a training session. In footage posted by the Brit on his social media channels, he is shown being put through his paces on the pads as he landed a mix of jabs and kicks.

The 34-year-old is fresh from his heroics against Francis Ngannou, where he dispatched of the former UFC heavyweight champion in a ruthless second round knockout. In a crossover bout of sorts in Riyadh, the man known as ‘AJ’ demonstrated his class to stave off the challenge of an opponent who had given Tyson Fury a real scare in his debut match in 2023.

In truth, the ex-MMA ace struggled to contain Joshua in the contest earlier this year, never looking comfortable in his second professional outing in the ring since his switch to boxing. Eventually, after being left sprawling on the canvas following second brutal blow, the referee called the fight at the 2:38 mark in Round Two.

Now, Joshua is back in the gym as he looks to capitalize on a night to remember in Saudi Arabia as speculation that he could face the winner of the undisputed unified heavyweight title bout between Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. The latter pair are slated to face off in May, with promoter Eddie Hearn having hinted that Joshua is waiting in the wings to challenge the victor.

However, it appears that Joshua embracing some MMA moves as part of his repertoire as he trained following his win over Ngannou last month on a clip posted on his Instagram. One fan did not appear too convinced of Joshua’s credentials in terms of a switch to MMA, however, as they questioned the speed of the Brit’s kicking.

In a tongue-in-cheek response, they quipped: “Can see the kick, cook a full 5 course meal, go to sleep, wake up, go to work, come back and then dodge it, while one person offered: “Would be quick, AJ would be dumped on his head in less than a minute.”

Still others were more positive, as one follower proposed: “Rematch with Ngannou but MMA this time,” before another replied: “This is terrifying. The heavyweight boxers have the highest chances of success [because] of how low the skill level and athleticism is of current heavyweights. AJ could beat 12/15 ranked UFC Heavyweights as he is now.”

Joshua’s previous comments towards most recent opponent Ngannou did hint at the Watford-born star’s focus remaining firmly on matters in the ring and not the octagon. Imploring the Cameroonian to stick with boxing after defeating him, he said: “When I saw the fight with Tyson Fury, I thought I want some of that.

“(Ngannou) is a great champion and this doesn’t take anything away from his capabilities,” he continued, as he suggested that the veteran fighter had a future in the sport despite two back-to-back losses. “I told him not to leave boxing. He’s two fights in and he fought the best.”

UFC flyweight star Demetruis Johnson previously backed Joshua to defeat Ngannou in a UFC fight as he discussed the hypothetical prospect on his YouTube channel. He said: “Does Anthony Joshua beat Francis Ngannou in an MMA fight? I think he does. It would just be another striking match. AJ understands his distance. He understands the void.

“He has better hands than Francis, and he can make Francis even whiff and miss again. Unless Francis is going to change his tactic and go clinch him and wrestle him. But AJ is very athletic. He is smaller, he’s more limber. I think he’d be able to stuff the shot and be able to give it to Francis Ngannou.”

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