Anthony Joshua had a brutal response when Francis Ngannou began to brag about knocking Tyson Fury to the floor in their fight last year. UFC star Ngannou dropped Fury on his boxing debut in October, but the Gypsy King got back to his feet and controversially claimed a split-decision win.

Ngannou is continuing his switch to boxing and will next face Joshua in just his second bout on March 8 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Brit certainly has experience on his side, with 29 more fights to his name, but that did not stop Ngannou from showing his confidence in their face-to-face.

Speaking to DAZN, the ex-UFC champion claimed that Joshua would not have been able to show the same resilience as Fury did last year, recovering from Ngannou’s knockdown. Despite the defeat on his debut, the 37-year-old took heart from the contest and believes that he has the upper hand over next month’s opponent.

“Yeah, I have a doubt about that,” Ngannou said while sat down with AJ discussing his dropping of Fury. “Tyson showed that he’s very resilient. I saw him come back from a knockdown that you wouldn’t believe. So I think he’s probably one of the most resistant person out there, and that’s not a disrespect to AJ. I don’t believe that AJ would take what Tyson did.”

But Joshua brutally shut down Ngannou’s efforts to dismiss his chances of victory in the Middle East, quickly hitting back with: “Who hasn’t knocked Tyson down? So many people have knocked Tyson down.”

Fury has been floored on seven occasions throughout his career but fought back to his feet each time to remain unbeaten. Ngannou had hoped for a rematch with Fury, but his wishes were quashed when a blockbuster fight with Oleksandr Usyk was agreed and a new date was pencilled in for May 18.

Joshua was due to take on Deontay Wilder in March but that plan collapsed following the American’s surprise defeat to Joseph Parker. That set up another heavyweight clash between Joshua and Ngannou as the UFC man continues to try his hand at boxing.

But Joshua has dispelled the notion that it is a “gimmick fight” by taking on an opponent with just one previous boxing match under his belt, after making a U-turn himself on the idea.

He added: “They spoke about this fight before and I said ‘no, it’s a gimmick fight, it’s not something that I think is right — crossing over when I’m still chasing heavyweight glory’. And then I think when they saw what happened with his last fight, the situation with Wilder, this opportunity presented itself. I never turned down a challenge and I’m looking forward to it.”

The Kansas City Chiefs are 2019 NFC Champs - get your gear on at Fanatics