Trainer Virgil Hunter is giving former two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua the edge over Francis Ngannou in their 12-round clash next month on March 8th in Saudi Arabia.
Hunter sees it as a “dangerous fight” for the 34-year-old Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) because of Ngannou’s (0-1) power.
What’s disappointing about this fight is the fact that the winner gets a shot at the undisputed championship against the Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk victor.
That’s crazy because neither of these guys has beaten anyone to rate a world title shot unless we’ve lowered the bar to what deserves to fight for a belt.
The reality is that the only reason the Joshua-Ngannou winner will get a title shot is their popularity. This shows the Celebrityization of boxing, morphing it from a sport to more of a celebrity-esque form of entertainment.
Joshua’s Momentum vs. Ngannou’s Power
The Eddie Hearn-promoted Joshua is coming off a fifth-round stoppage win over Otto Wallin last December to put him in this position to earn a chance to battle the Fury-Usyk winner for undisputed glory.
In Joshua’s two confidence-builder-level fights before that, he defeated 40-year-old journeyman Robert Helenious and fringe-level contender Jermaine Franklin.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou didn’t look half bad in his recent controversial loss to an out-of-shape and old-looking Tyson Fury last October in a fight many saw as a robbery in Saudi Arabia.
Ngannou dropped Fury in the contest and had him looking shaken. When Fury’s ability to maul was taken away from him by the stronger, better inside wrestler, he had no answers.
Fury went to the cupboard, found it bare, and could do nothing more than flicking weak jabs. It was sad to see how basic Fury looked in that fight.
“The Joshua that showed up to the last fight looked very good. He looked very sound, explosive, and fast,” Hunter told Boxing Social about Anthony Joshua’s recent victory over fringe contender Otto Wallin.
“I do know that Ngannou is a physical specimen, and he is cut from a different cloth. The way he has come up and how he is built, he has been physically strong since he was a youth!
“I expect Joshua to win, but it is a dangerous fight. As long as he [Ngannou] is on his two feet, as long as he can punch, he is always a danger.”