Anthony Joshua  Knocks out  Francis Ngannou in Saudi fight

Anthony Joshua defeated Francis Ngannou in the second round for a stirring victory in Friday’s heavyweight bout in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua, the British star, knocked down Ngannou in the first round, knocked him down again in the second round and then delivered the knockout punch at 2:38 of the second round.

The knockout blow, a powerful right hand, left Ngannou out cold. Ngannou, the former UFC champion, was down on the canvas for more than a minute and received oxygen, according to the DAZN broadcast.

The victory was the fourth straight for Joshua (28-3) after his back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine.”

For me, I don’t know if I’m coming into my peak,’’ he said. “I’m just pushing day by day.’’

It was a stunning setback for Ngannou, who knocked down Tyson Fury during his pro debut in October and looked impressive in a split-decision loss. But Joshua, the two-time world champion, was in control from the outset Friday.

Joshua, 34, said he was captivated by Ngannou’s bout with Fury.

Recalled Joshua, “When I saw the fight with him and Fury, I was like, ‘Damn, this guy can fight.’ So I said, ‘I need a piece of that.’ “

But after the fight started Friday, Ngannou, the 37-year-old native of Cameroon, spent almost as much time on the canvas as he did on his feet.

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