UFC ace Francis Ngannou could be heavyweight title contender if he switched, reveals Joyce after brutal sparring session – The Sun

UFC monster Francis Ngannou could become a world title boxing contender too, according to Brit Olympic silver hero Joe Joyce.

Putney’s 34-year-old Juggernaut took his training camp for the postponed British title clash with Daniel Dubois to Las Vegas in March.

While in Sin City, the fearless 10-0 ace invited the 6ft 4in Cameroonian powerhouse to his gym for four brutal rounds.

The 18st sensation has based his career on Mike Tyson but had his heart and engine questioned after back-to-back 2018 defeats.

And, since Ngannou’s bout with Jairzinho Rozenstruik tonight has come around before Joyce’s is rescheduled, the undefeated ace has broken down The Predator’s strengths and weakness for SunSport.


JOE JOYCE: If I didn’t know Francis’ background I think I would have been able to tell from his footwork that he was not a boxer and was coming from an MMA background.

There are subtle differences that you just pick up straight away.

In boxing you’re only really trying to score points with your fists, in MMA it’s fists, elbows, forearms, shoulders, feet, heels, shins and that is before you get into chokes and submissions.

So I feel like boxing is a more simple sport and because of that it is more refined, there are traditions and principles that almost everyone abides by, that you are taught as soon as you walk into the gym.

MMA fighters and Francis seem to be a bit more open and with their guard and they keep a longer distance, I guess because they factor in the opportunity to kick or dive in for takedowns.

I felt, when sparring Francis, that he was offering me a fair few opportunities.


JJ: We had a great four-round spar and I didn’t get the sense that he was scared of getting hit.

We spar in big gloves and headguards, compared to the small ones they wear inside the cage.

But he took a fair amount of head and body shots from me and kept on coming.

It was a great experience having him in the ring with me because he has very similar dimensions to Daniel Dubois and he might even be physically stronger than him.


JJ: Boy, he is strong.

I am glad he’s in the UFC and not in heavyweight boxing because he really tries to take your head off.

He has natural power, so If he wanted to improve on these things then he would have to devote a lot of time to just boxing and the sweet science.


JJ: I did four rounds with Francis as part of a 12-round session, involving two other sparring partners, and Francis held his own.

It was heavy sparring and he can exert more energy and pressure because he knows he is only in there for four rounds and I know I am doing 12 and that, when the other guys jump in, they will be fresh.

But Francis didn’t show any signs of fatigue in the 12 minutes we did but again, I am sure it’s a lot different to 15 or 25 championship minutes in the octagon.


JJ: I had only watched a highlight video of him on YouTube and he looked good, he looked like a beast.

He explained to be that Mike Tyson was his hero growing up and he originally started in boxing but he was offered a shortcut into MMA and then fast-tracked into the UFC.

He is a good boxer and I think he would knock most heavyweights out but I think once he got to the elite world-title level, he would start struggling.

I think if you were trying to place him at a level in boxing, right now I would place him at British or Commonwealth level, to start.

But, with the natural physical attributes he has, if he got with the right coach and lots of things clicked for him, then I think he could challenge for a world title.

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