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What next for Anthony Joshua after knocking out Francis Ngannou?

After a devastating victory over Francis Ngannou, Anthony Joshua suggests he is now ready to take on either Tyson Fury or Oleksandr Usyk later this year as he bids to become a world champion for a third time.

Joshua delivered a huge statement to the rest of the heavyweight division after stopping the former UFC champion without breaking a sweat, just months after WBC champion Fury laboured to a points victory against the Cameroonian.

A defeat for Joshua would have been a disaster as he tries to reclaim top spot in the division, while the manner of the defeat now leaves Ngannou at a crossroads at the age of 37.

AJ back to his destructive best

British star Joshua had the weight of the world on his shoulders on Friday night, with his critics expecting him to struggle against the former king of the MMA division.

Ngannou shocked the world in October last year when he pushed Fury all the way in Riyadh, dropping the Gypsy King in the third round from a left hook.

Fury recovered and ground out a points win, but some at ringside believe he lost the fight comfortably.

Having given Fury numerous problems, Ngannou was expected to hurt Joshua, who has shown vulnerabilities over the years.

The reality could not have been any more different, as Ngannou failed to land any meaningful strikes before he hit the canvas in the first round.

As an inexperienced boxer, Ngannou's technique was questionable and he left a big gap between his guard, which Joshua punished with a superb straight right hand.

Ngannou, to his credit, got up off the floor to hear the bell, but it was the last he would hear after a destructive second round from Joshua.

The Brit clipped Ngannou with a right hand that took his legs out from underneath him, but he beat the count again, only to walk on to a humongous right hand, sent him to the canvas for the third time.

Joshua's victory is his fourth in the last 12 months and since beating Jermaine Franklin Jr., he has knocked out Robert Helenius, Otto Wallin and Ngannou.

Ngannou has vowed to come again and bounce back later this year, but the manner of his defeat may take him some time to get over.

Fury's former tactician masterminding AJ success

While Joshua deserves all the praise for his highlight-reel victory on Friday, it is trainer Ben Davison who has brought the best out of him.

The British trainer has developed an incredible CV over the years and, after helping Fury back to the top of the division, he is now planning his former partner's downfall.

Davison first worked with AJ ahead of his knockout success over Wallin and it is clear he is trying to build on his strengths. For years, Joshua tried to improve his weaknesses, which was expected, but in doing so he lost sight of what made him so effective.

Joshua is one of the best combination punchers in the heavyweight division, if not the best and his power is only matched by American Deontay Wilder.

Davison identified Ngannou's weaknesses and developed a perfect gameplan and he will now get to work on Joshua's next opponent, whoever that may be.

Joshua happy to bide his time

After a resounding victory, Joshua can now kick back and, relax and work on his game as he waits to see what is next.

He made no secret that he wants the winner of Fury and Usyk, with the pair set to meet on Saturday 18th May. Fury is 4/5 to win the bout, with his Ukrainian opponent the slight outsider at 1/1.

Joshua has had to take his fair share of criticism, but he has never shied away from any opponent and, after four wins on the spin, he could soon be back on top of the sport.

When asked about his plans and performance, Joshua told reporters: "I'm going back to my cage and when they let me out, I'll fight again.

"In five years, I won't be fighting," Joshua added. "Eddie Hearn and my team will shape my future."

Should Joshua win a world title for a third time, he would cement his legacy as a future Hall of Famer, while wolud also give him every chance of winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Joshua is 25/1 to win this year's award and, if he can continue on his current trajectory, he will soon be back on the throne of the heavyweight division.

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