Hearn’s Nervous Prediction: Joshua Wins by KO

By Jay McIntyre - 02/19/2024 - Comments

A “nervous” Matchroom promoter, Eddie Hearn, predicts a knockout win for his flagship fighter, Anthony Joshua, against Francis Ngannou on March 8th in their ten-round headliner in Saudi Arabia.

Hearn is worried after watching what the UFC powerhouse Ngannou did against Tyson Fury last October, out-punching the WBC champ in a non-title fight in Riyadh. The fight gave AJ and his training team 10 valuable rounds to study to prepare for their March 8th clash, but that’s still not a lot.

High Stakes and No Second Chances

With the punching power that Ngannou showed in that fight, Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) may need to pitch a shutout to keep from being knocked out for a second time in his 11-year career and winding up on skidrow.

If Joshua loses to Ngannou, he’ll be out of the Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk sweepstakes and in a position where he’ll be forced to take a rematch with Francis.

Joshua won’t be able to count on Ngannou eating and drinking himself to a state of poor health, as we saw in AJ’s rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. in December 2019. Hearn could ignore putting Joshua in with Ngannou for a second fight, and instead lean on His Excellency to allow him to back into a clash against the Fury-Ngannou winner off the back of a loss.

It obviously wouldn’t be sporting to see something like that, but it’s already making a mockery of the sport by Joshua facing Ngannou to earn a fight against the winner of that clash rather than AJ facing a true top-10 contender, like Zhilei Zhang.

Hearn’s Shaky Optimism

“It’s a tough fight against Ngannou, because it’s difficult to do that against a guy with only ten rounds. It was even harder for Fury last time, and still hard for AJ,” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV, talking about Anthony Joshua’s fight against Francis Ngannou on March 8th.

“At least we’ve got ten rounds to break it down, but it’s a very dangerous fight. We’re all nervous, but we’re all excited. That’s what you want in a sport. It’s going to be two giants going at it. Can you believe it’s only going to be two weeks this Friday?

“Nganou is tough, he’s dangerous, but I think Joshua will knock him out. I think it might take six, seven, or eight rounds, but I just want to see his hand raised and move on. I believe Joshua will be too much and have too much for him,” said Hearn.

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