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Francis Ngannou’s second outing in a professional boxing ring didn’t quite go as planned. 

The former UFC heavyweight champion was knocked out cold by Anthony Joshua in the second round of a glitzy affair in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia late last Friday. The result, or more appropriately the manner of the result, has led to questions as to whether or not Ngannou should continue his foray into boxing, or return to mixed martial arts after signing a big money deal with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) last year.

And according to British heavyweight Dillian Whyte, who himself has flirted with the idea of fighting Ngannou in a boxing ring, the MMA star’s technical flaws that were displayed in his razor-thin loss to Tyson Fury last year were writ large in his vicious KO loss to the ruthless Joshua.

“Francis is not experienced enough to beat the top guys,” Whyte told Sky Sports. “He got a bit complacent because he did well against Fury but Fury didn’t take him seriously.

“Fury just thought he was going to outbox him and he gave Fury some problems but that was his undoing,” added Whyte. “I think that fight gave him false confidence to the point where, when he was getting hammered with big punches, he stayed in the pocket and he wasn’t trying to move his head or hold or anything.

“He went down, stood up in the same place. Didn’t move his head, went down, stood up in the same place and basically waited for the third right hand. So, I knew it was going to happen and I picked AJ to win anyway.”

Ngannou’s decision to switch to southpaw from the orthodox stance towards the end of the first round was also highlighted by Whyte as a tactical error by the Cameroonian, given that this established a corridor for Joshua to deliver the first of three knockdowns that ultimately led to the second round KO.

“AJ is a puncher and you don’t just stand up in front of someone like AJ with your hands basically down and then switching stances mid-fight against a right-handed puncher,” Whyte explained. “Why did he go southpaw? It didn’t make any sense.

“I just knew that AJ’s experience and his power would be too much. I thought Francis would be a little bit better, to be honest, but Francis… he’s doing boxing, but it’s not recognised boxing training so he hasn’t covered the basics. Someone like AJ, an experienced gold medallist, all these world title fights, he covers the basics on a daily basis and that is where Francis came unstuck.”

As for Whyte, he returns to the ring on Sunday in Castlebar in Ireland against veteran heavyweight Christian Hammer, and he hopes that his St. Patrick’s Day bout will be the next chapter in a move back towards title contention.

“I have been meaning to return to Ireland for a while, I have got family from here and they can come down to the fight,” he said.

“Christian Hammer, he is a guy I know, tough guy. Experienced in a lot of fights. It’s a very good fight, considering I have been off for 16 months. Very good fight to come back to.

“I still want the world title and I still want to fight all the big fights. There is a lot of big fights going on and I want my name to get back amongst the mix and to prove I can still beat these guys.”