Skip to main content

Ben Davison, the man tasked with training two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to fight Francis Ngannou, has said that he is preparing the Briton to face an “elite” world-level athlete in Saudi Arabia next month. 

Davison, who previously oversaw Tyson Fury’s return to the summit of the heavyweight division up until four years ago, was central to Joshua’s camp ahead of his recent bout with Otto Wallin in December — a bout won by Joshua after Wallin couldn’t answer the bell at the end of the fifth.

The performance against Wallin, which came just over a year after Joshua’s second successive defeat to Oleksandr Usyk, suggested a return to form for the 2021 Olympic gold medallist who had faced mounting criticism over the course of the past several years over what some considered to be an overly-conservative in-ring style.

A win over boxing novice Ngannou, who caused some significant trouble for Davison’s former student Fury last October, would likely propel Joshua towards another world title opportunity.

But ahead of his second stint as Joshua’s trainer in the March 8 showdown with Ngannou, Davison told Full Circle that he is expecting a tough evening when the two power-punchers collide in the Middle East.

“He’s a fighter at the end of the day,” Davison said of the former UFC heavyweight champ. “A novice boxer perhaps, but that doesn’t change the fact he’s an elite level fighter. He’s had plenty of fights, and he’s had a boxing fight at the very highest level, so we’re treating this as the serious threat of which it is.

“At the end of the day, it’s a fight,” added Davison. “They’ve got gloves on, and it’s two big guys fighting. They’re physically absolute specimens, but we can’t overlook him being a trained fighter either who has now boxed at the highest level. However many times he’s done that is irrelevant, but he has fought at the elite level.

“Somehow people are saying Ngannou hasn’t proven himself? He’s had fights where he became a heavyweight champion of the world, where they were able to do a bit more than just punch. He’s then had a boxing fight at world level, and people are disregarding him as world level when plenty of people had the opinion the fight was painfully close. We’ve got to consider him at world level, we certainly are anyway.”