Francis Ngannou will BEAT Anthony Joshua and become world ‘CHAMP’ by end of 2024, says ex-UFC champion

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FRANCIS NGANNOU has been tipped to take over the boxing world this year – by becoming a world champion.

The UFC’s former heavyweight king turned the combat sports world upside down last October with a stunning display in his narrow defeat to Tyson Fury, whom he cut and dropped in their Riyadh rumble.

Francis Ngannou locks horns with Anthony Joshua in a Saudi showdown next monthREX

Ngannou goes into the contest on the back of a stunning display against Tyson FuryGETTY

Former UFC champ Rashad Evans reckons Ngannou will win a world title in boxing by year’s endGETTY

Ngannou, 37, will bid to go one better when he faces Fury’s Brit rival Anthony Joshua in a second successive lucrative Saudi showdown on March 8.

The MMA man mountain’s chances of upsetting the former two-time unified heavyweight champ have been written off by many.

But not by former UFC light-heavyweight king Rashad Evans, who reckons The Predator can reach the pinnacle of the sport by year’s end.

During an interview with Give Me Sport, he said: “I mean, it’s hard for me to put anything past Francis, man.

“That performance and now he’s gonna be fighting Anthony Joshua. I mean, I think he’s gonna do it.

“I made a prediction at the end of [2023] and I said, ‘I think that Francis Ngannou is gonna be a heavyweight boxing champ by the end of the year.’”

Ngannou faces arguably a stiffer challenge in Joshua than he did in Fury, who recently saw his undisputed heavyweight fight with Oleksandr Usyk postponed.

But he’s confident of derailing AJ’s hopes of becoming a three-time world champion with a vicious knockout victory.

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ANTHONY JOSHUA VS FRANCIS NGANNOU: ALL THE DETAILS YOU NEED AHEAD OF HUGE CROSSOVER BOUT

During a recent appearance on the High Performance Podcast, the Cameroonian clubber said: “Never say never.

“Nothing is impossible. We don’t know the strength of Anthony Joshua.

“Even though I don’t believe he has that strength, we’re going to find out.

“In two months, we’re going to find out. I’m going to be the one taking his soul.”

Joshua, who got his career back on track with three wins on the bounce last year, is refusing to overlook Ngannou after seeing him come agonisingly close to pulling off one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.

He said: “If Tyson underestimated Ngannou, I sure won’t.

“Francis has lost the element of surprise with me.

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“We knew Francis had a reputation as the biggest puncher in the world but the surprise was how well he boxed.

“He was exceptional on the inside and made life very complicated for Tyson.

“So much so that I do belong to the opinion that he beat Fury.”

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