Haye Warns Joshua Against 'Standing And Trading' With Ngannou

David Haye has told Anthony Joshua he can’t risk trading with Francis Ngannou on Friday evening.

Joshua and Ngannou fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, aware that in the event of victory they will secure a future date with the winner of the two fights between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight title.

The 34-year-old Joshua impressed in December when he stopped Otto Wallin, having fought with the aggression he lacked when criticised while previously defeating Robert Helenius and Jermaine Franklin.

In so doing he returned to contention to secure the fight with Fury that he has long wanted, but Haye has warned him not to take any risks given that it is Ngannou, 37, who stands in his way.

Haye consistently succeeded as a smaller fighter against considerably bigger opponents, and at Thursday’s weigh-in, where the 18st Joshua was over 20lbs lighter than Ngannou, the retired champion told DAZN: “The first couple of fights he had [in 2023] he was very measured; he was taking his time. But the Otto Wallin fight, I like the fact he took his time; he didn’t rush. He was picking his punches; he was working on his distance. 

“He seems very much in control, and he needs that type of energy to enter a Ngannou fight.

“Against Otto Wallin, who came to win but he didn’t fight like his life depended on it… But Ngannou is a different beast altogether.

“The fights that he [Joshua] has had since [successive defeats by Oleksandr] Usyk have prepared him for this type of fight. The fight that he needs to be in is the safest fight for him. He needs to use his skills, lateral movement, and physical abilities.

“Standing and trading, which I wanted him to do in his earlier fights when he returned after he fought Usyk – I wouldn’t recommend that strategy against Ngannou.

“Tyson Fury tried to do that, but he got caught with that big left hand and went down. He [Ngannou] punches those punch machines, and he scores 999.

“If you stand with Ngannou and you are a human being and you get hit by him, you are at least going down very heavily.”

The aggressive Ngannou has spent some of fight week being confrontational with Fury.

“In the back of his mind he’s looking and thinking ‘I could crush you right now’, and he’s right,” Haye continued. “He’s used to choking; kicking; kneeing He’s shown something that no MMA fighter has done before; he’s gone in there against arguably the best heavyweight in the world and on many people’s scorecards won the fight. 

“Anthony Joshua knows that. He’s got a heads up that this guy isn’t just an MMA fighter. He’s a legitimate world-level boxer, who’s able to win many rounds and knock down Tyson Fury. That’s what’s going to make Anthony Joshua rise to the occasion. 

“If Anthony Joshua was to have fought Ngannou without Ngannou fighting Tyson Fury, he’d have had a hard night. Now that he knows he’s gotta raise his game through necessity, it’ll bring the best out of him.”