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Deontay Wilder slammed his ringwalk costume, David Haye blamed a broken toe and Jake Paul said a WET DREAM cost him… boxing's worst excuses after Francis Ngannou claimed he was 'tricked' before his loss to Anthony Joshua

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Accepting defeat is difficult in any sport, and that is especially the case in boxing where fighters experience such devastating lows after a knockout loss.

Some boxers are able to put it behind them, admit they were second best and aim to come back stronger. But for others it isn’t so easy, and they need to find an excuse for why things went wrong.

Former UFC champion Francis Ngannou made the step across to boxing last year and pushed heavyweight king Tyson Fury all the way back in October.

Earlier this month, he got back in the ring to take on Anthony Joshua, but he was dismantled inside two rounds.

The gulf in class was clear for all to see, with Joshua knocking Ngannou down twice before finishing him off with a devastating right hand that left the Cameroonian-born star out cold.

Anthony Joshua knocked out Francis Ngannou inside two rounds earlier this month

Anthony Joshua knocked out Francis Ngannou inside two rounds earlier this month

Ngannou has since claimed he was 'tricked' into arriving at the venue too early before the fight

Ngannou has since claimed he was ‘tricked’ into arriving at the venue too early before the fight

There was no shame in losing to a two-time heavyweight champion, but Ngannou reacted to the loss this week, and made some strong accusations about how the night panned out before the fight even got underway.

Ngannou arrived considerably earlier than Joshua to the venue in Saudi Arabia on fight night, and he does not believe this was a coincidence.

‘What I think, something that’s happened is that they get me to the arena very early,’ he told The MMA Hour.

‘Like my pickup time was 10.30pm to go to the arena. And then when we get to the arena, they tell us that we are scheduled around 1.45am.

‘They come to the locker room around 1 and Joshua [was just arriving around 1]. I’m like, “OK, we are fighting at the same time, how come I have a pickup time?” We received a schedule, an email, and then for some reason I was there at least one hour before.

‘But for the fight, at least two hours beforehand. They do this kind of trick to get you tired. I was like cool. I didn’t know how it was, how important that was, until the fight day that I have to get there two hours before.’

It appears a bizarre excuse from Ngannou, and fans are unlikely to be convinced that it played a major role in the result given how one-sided the fight was.

But have there been worse excuses put forward by fighters? Mail Sport has picked out some eyebrow-raising ones from over the years.

Wilder’s ringwalk costume weighs him down

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury battled to a draw in December 2018, and they faced each other again 14 months later to settle their differences.

But the February 2020 rematch turned into a one-sided beating, with Fury sending Wilder to the canvas twice before the American’s corner threw the towel in during the seventh round.

Many observers put Fury’s superiority down to his more aggressive approach the second time around, but Wilder felt differently.

He wore a 40lb costume to the ring for the rematch, and insisted that this led to his below-par performance.

‘He didn’t hurt me at all, but the simple fact is that my uniform was way too heavy for me,’ Wilder told Yahoo.

‘I didn’t have no legs from the beginning of the fight. In the third round, my legs were just shot all the way through.’

Wilder also accused Fury of cheating by putting ‘something hard’ in his gloves and demanded a third fight with the Gypsy King.

He got his wish but was stopped again, this time in the 11th round.

Deontay Wilder wore a 40lb costume to the ring for his second fight with Tyson Fury

Deontay Wilder wore a 40lb costume to the ring for his second fight with Tyson Fury

Fury went on to dominate Wilder, and the American blamed his pre-fight costume

Fury went on to dominate Wilder, and the American blamed his pre-fight costume

Foreman’s friend betrayal  

Sticking with heavyweights, and let’s move on to arguably the biggest fight in history – The Rumble in the Jungle.

Not many pundits gave Muhammad Ali a chance of reclaiming the heavyweight crown against the heavy-hitting George Foreman in 1974, but Ali deployed his iconic ‘rope-a-dope’ tactics to tire the bigger man out before finishing him in the seventh round.

Foreman struggled to come to terms with losing his unbeaten record and later wrote in his autobiography that he had lost concentration during the fight after seeing one of his friends cheering for Ali at ringside.

Years later, Foreman admitted to regretting his use of excuses, and he and Ali became close friends prior to the latter’s death in 2016.

After an extended break from boxing, Foreman made a comeback and won the heavyweight title again in 1994 when he knocked out Michael Moorer at the age of 45.

He remains the oldest heavyweight champion in history. 

George Foreman initially blamed his loss to Muhammad Ali on seeing a friend cheering for Ali at ringside, and claiming this caused him to lose concentration

George Foreman initially blamed his loss to Muhammad Ali on seeing a friend cheering for Ali at ringside, and claiming this caused him to lose concentration

Froch floored by volcanic ash cloud  

Let’s take a little break from the big men and move down to super-middleweight.

Back in April 2010, Carl Froch was due to take on Mikkel Kessler in Denmark, but an Icelandic volcano erupting caused doubts over whether the fight would go ahead.

Flights were cancelled due to the ash cloud from the eruption, but Froch did manage to get over to Northern Europe before losing to Kessler on points.

Reflecting on the defeat, Froch claimed he took his eye off the ball as he thought the fight was going to be called off. 

‘I should have been better if that volcano hadn’t put up all that ash in the air. My flight was cancelled so I had a barbeque and ate some burgers and fizz pop,’ he told the Evening Standard.

‘But the day before the weigh-in, I found out they’d put a private jet on for me so I thought, “Sod it, I’ll go”. So I spent the night before in a red-hot bath trying to sweat off the weight and replicate a sauna. It left me a little bit drained but I went in thinking I could get him with just one shot.’

That was Froch’s first professional loss, but he exacted revenge three years later, and this time there were no planes for him to catch as he won a unanimous decision at London’s O2 Arena. 

A volcano erupted in Iceland in 2010, causing a giant ash cloud that led to flights being cancelled

A volcano erupted in Iceland in 2010, causing a giant ash cloud that led to flights being cancelled

The eruption led to Carl Froch arriving late for his fight in Denmark, and he subsequently lost to Mikkel Kessler

The eruption led to Carl Froch arriving late for his fight in Denmark, and he subsequently lost to Mikkel Kessler

Haye hampered by broken toe  

David Haye campaigned for a fight against one of the Klitschko brothers for years, and even wore a shirt with their severed heads on the front to goad them. 

Finally, he got his opportunity to face Wladimir Klitschko in 2011 as the two heavyweights put their titles on the line in a unification clash.

It promised to be the biggest heavyweight fight in years but proved to be a damp squib as Klitschko jabbed and grabbed his way to a points win while Haye offered little in return.

After talking the talk in the build-up, it may have been wise for Haye to keep a low profile in the immediate aftermath, but he opted to try to explain his disappointing performance straight away.

‘I couldn’t push on my right leg. Something happened in training and I didn’t want to pull out,’ he said. ‘I broke my toe on my right foot. I couldn’t push off the right foot to throw the right hand.

‘I thought adrenaline would get me through it but it was tough. It’s incredibly frustrating.’

Haye even got up on a table in his post-fight press conference to show his injury, but received little sympathy.

He suffered more significant injuries in the latter stages of his career, and finally decided to hang up his gloves after successive defeats by domestic rival Tony Bellew in 2017 and 2018.

David Haye claimed he broke his little toe in the build-up to his fight with Wladimir Klitschko

David Haye claimed he broke his little toe in the build-up to his fight with Wladimir Klitschko

Haye's excuse came after he was outpointed by Klitschko in Hamburg, Germany

Haye’s excuse came after he was outpointed by Klitschko in Hamburg, Germany

AJ is just TOO heavy  

There are actually some similarities between how the Klitschko vs Haye fight played out and Anthony Joshua’s first fight with Oleksandr Usyk.

On both occasions, the Ukrainians outboxed the cautious Brits to pick up deserved wins, but neither were thrilling spectacles.

But Joshua got something that Haye didn’t – a shot at redemption.

Eleven months after losing his titles to Usyk, Joshua fought him again in Saudi Arabia in August 2022. Despite an improved display, Joshua still lost and he could not contain his frustration afterwards.

AJ gave a passionate and bizarre speech inside the ring, which included responding to why he had become reluctant to throw combinations and had started to rely on single shots instead.

‘I’m not a 12-round fighter… I’m 18 stone, I’m heavy!’ Joshua told the bemused crowd.

Joshua has since won his last four fights and looks back to his best, throwing punches in bunches to topple his opponents. 

And his weight for those fights? Around the 18 stone mark. 

Anthony Joshua took the microphone after losing to Oleksandr Usyk for a second time, and claimed he was not a 12-round fighter because he was too heavy

Anthony Joshua took the microphone after losing to Oleksandr Usyk for a second time, and claimed he was not a 12-round fighter because he was too heavy

Paul’s wet dream 

Crossover fights have gained popularity in recent years, and Jake Paul’s bout with Tommy Fury really captured the public’s imagination in February 2023.

Paul knocked Fury down late on, but the YouTuber was outboxed for the majority of the contest and lost on points.

A couple of weeks later he went on his YouTube show ImPaulsive to explain how he fell short, and came up with an excuse that has surely never been heard before.

‘I f***ed myself – literally – over,’ he said. ‘I don’t actually even remember the dream. I literally woke up in a panic, like, “f***, f***, f***, f***”. I was like, “Oh my god”. 

‘You have two weeks of testosterone built up and so the reason a wet dream happens is because your body needs to release that energy, it knows in your mind, “this is not good”. I f***ed myself.

‘But yeah it makes your legs weak. For the viewers, that’s why it’s bad, it makes your legs weak.’

Paul also blamed illness, injuries and being jet-lagged for his loss, and has called for a rematch with Fury. He is yet to receive it.

Jake Paul claimed that a wet dream before his fight with Tommy Fury cost him

Jake Paul claimed that a wet dream before his fight with Tommy Fury cost him

Paul lost to Fury in their huge clash last year, and gave a host of excuses afterwards

Paul lost to Fury in their huge clash last year, and gave a host of excuses afterwards

Tyson’s broken back  

Time to finish with a classic, and this excuse from Mike Tyson came after he won!

Eight months after losing to Lennox Lewis, Tyson returned to the same venue in Memphis in February 2003 to exorcise his demons, and he beat Clifford Etienne in just 49 seconds.

Speaking in the ring after the fight, American commentator Jim Gray sensed that all was not quite right with Tyson and asked him if he had felt unwell in the lead up to the fight.

Tyson replied: ‘I broke my back! My back is broken.’

Gray seemed stunned by the revelation and tried to gain more information by asking what part of his back was broken.

Mike Tyson knocked out Clifford Etienne in 49 seconds in 2003 and proceeded to reveal that he had broken his back before the fight

Mike Tyson knocked out Clifford Etienne in 49 seconds in 2003 and proceeded to reveal that he had broken his back before the fight

Quick as a flash, Tyson shot back: ‘Spinal!’

He went on to reveal that he had injured himself in a motorcycle accident, but still decided to go ahead with the fight after cancelling previous fights.

His victory over Etienne proved to be his final triumph as he lost his last two fights before retiring in 2005.

Tyson had a spell of being wheelchair-bound due to sciatica – a condition that often starts from the lower back – after retirement, but he is now set for a shock return to the ring at the age of 58 to take on Jake Paul in July.