Joshua vs. Ngannou: Size Matters, and Hearn’s Protectionism Exposed

By Daniel Mcglinchey - 02/16/2024 - Comments

Promoter Eddie Hearn notes that this will be the first time in the career of Anthony Joshua that he’ll be facing an opponent that is bigger than him in Francis Ngannou ahead of their 10-round fight next month on March 8th at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Hearn has some concerns about his fighter, Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs), considering he’s stepping into the unknown, fighting a guy that is not only bigger but still a puzzle, given there’s so little footage of him for AJ and his trainer Ben Davison to study.

Joshua was on the verge of collapse when he fought 6’6″ Wladimir Klitschko in 2017. Joshua should have been knocked out in the sixth round after being dropped by Klitschko, but inexplicably, the Ukrainian chose to box AJ from that point on, even with him looking gassed and hurt.

Ngannou Won’t have Mercy

If Ngannou gets Joshua in the same condition on March 8th, he won’t back off. He’ll go for the kill, finish the job, and destroy AJ’s hopes of facing the winner of the Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk clash.

That’ll obviously be upsetting for Hearn, but oh well. Joshua likely wouldn’t be in the position he is now, on the cusp of fighting for the undisputed championship, if not for Hearn backing him away from fighting world-level competition after his back-to-back defeats at the hands of Usyk.

Hearn’s Soft Matchmaking Questioned

Hearn has kept Joshua together with paper mache, matching him against middle-of-the-road fodder to protect him, which is utterly pathetic, but this is all about business and money.

“He’s in a great place. He’s punching so hard. I guess the challenge with Ngannou is still a little bit of the unknown. There was a lot of unknown going into the Fury. There’s less now, but you’ve got ten rounds of footage to dissect and breakdown,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing, discussing Anthony Joshua’s fight against Francis Ngannou on March 8th.

“It’s the first time that AJ has fought someone bigger than him in size, in mass. That’s always daunting, probably not for AJ, but two guys that can turn your lights off like that, and that’s what people want to see.

“It’s knockout chaos in Riyadh, and like I said. This fight can be over in a nanosecond, and hopefully, it’ll be our way,” said Hearn.