Francis Ngannou massively exceeded expectations on his professional boxing debut. He knocked down Tyson Fury and went the distance with the Englishman, only losing by split decision.

In his second appearance he faced Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia and the former UFC heavyweight champion didn’t fare quite so well. He found himself on the canvass for the first time late in the opening round after a straight right hand from the Englishman.

Both men threw jabs out in the opening exchanges with Ngannou looking to load up on right hands. Having failed to land any he switched to southpaw but was floored by a one two with a minute remaining in the round.

Warning signs

He needed all ten seconds and got back to his feet in an orthodox stance. Ngannou was able to see out the round but confidence must have been flowing through Joshua’s veins at this stage.

At the start of the second both men pawed with jabs. Joshua followed up with another straight right which landed but this time Ngannou wore it well.

He didn’t heed the warning signs though and seconds later a right hand from Joshua put him on his backside for the second time in the fight. Ngannou beat the count for a second time and looked set to see out another round.

Overhand right

But Joshua had other ideas and followed up a jab with an overhand right which folded the former UFC heavyweight champion. This time there was to be no getting up for Ngannou with the finish coming at the 2:38 mark.

Ngannou was unconscious and might want to consider a return to MMA after dropping to 0-2 as a boxer. Joshua is 31-3 and bigger fights clearly await the Englishman.

Once Ngannou had regained consciousness Joshua told him not to give up boxing. Having reportedly earned $20 million USD for this fight the former UFC star has plenty of incentive to continue but this is the type of knockout that makes fighters question their career choices.