Francis Ngannou believes Anthony Joshua ‘looked a little nervous’ at fight promo

Francis Ngannou has claimed Anthony Joshua has been looking nervous ahead of their heavyweight bout in Saudi Arabia on Friday.

Joshua is the clear favourite to win in Riyadh but Ngannou, the 37-year-old former UFC star preparing for only his second professional boxing contest, went the full 10 rounds with Tyson Fury last year and floored the WBC champion in a match-up he controversially lost on points.

That will give Joshua, 34, plenty to think about as he eyes a potential world title fight against Filip Hrgovic, or a bout against the winner of May’s showdown between Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.

“We were doing the promo and he was very chilled, very relaxed,” Ngannou told reporters at a workout on Tuesday.

“I asked him if he was OK, because he looked a little nervous or something. I asked him if he was OK, because I was OK. I had no problems. I was just talking around, laughing.

“I think we are both professional enough to know what we have to do to get to where we want to go.”

Joshua opted against hitting the pads during his own workout, instead shadow boxing alongside a number of local young boxers invited to attend.

“It’s a great chance for me to let other people use the platform that I’ve created to express themselves and their talent,” Joshua said.

“I know how much the people of Saudi are embracing boxing and health in general. I gave them a chance to get on TV and hopefully their parents will see and it will boost their morale.

“I’m here to fight, I wasn’t acknowledging (the fans) with all due respect, I’m here to fight. This is my life. Talk is cheap.”