Hearn: Joshua Must Knock Out Ngannou to Win

By Jay McIntyre - 03/05/2024 - Comments

Promoter Eddie Hearn believes the only path to victory for Anthony Joshua on Friday is by knocking out the dangerous puncher Francis Ngannou in their ten-round heavyweight non-title fight in Riyadh.

Hearn doesn’t think Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) can win a points decision. One reason for that is that he will get hit a lot by Ngannou during the fight, and he won’t be able to hold up under the shots from the powerful former UFC heavyweight champion the way Tyson Fury did last October.

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The only reason Fury lasted the full ten round distance is because he fought defensively after getting dropped, but he has an unreal chin. We saw that in Fury’s three fights against Deontay Wilder getting dropped four times, but getting up each time.

No Room for Mercy

“I don’t think you have to take his soul. You just have to hurt him and knock him out because he won’t quit,” said Eddie Hearn to Queensberry about how Anthony Joshua can beat Francis Ngannou.

If Joshua doesn’t knockout Ngannou, he’s going to be stalked around the ring, and nailed with shots just as hard as the right hand that Wladimir Klitschko dropped him with in their fight in 2017. If Wladimir had fought more aggressively, he would have easily finished him.

Ngannou will be fighting with massive aggression on Friday, forcing Joshua to either knock him out or else he will be stopped himself.

“You have to hit him hard enough to not be able to fight back. To not be able to show how tough he is. You have to knock him out, and that’s going to be the hard thing. The size of his neck. He may have a fantastic chin,” said Hearn about Ngannou.

“You have to hit anywhere. You’ve got to let them bombs go and let him feel the pain,” said Frank Warren.

Ngannou’s Weaknesses

“One of the keys is the tempo of the fight. Against Fury, Ngannou looked like he was going to gas a few times, but Tyson went into a little survival mode at the same time,” said Hearn.

“If you can fight at a good tempo against Ngannou, I do think he’ll gas, but to do that, you’ve got to stay active because he’s going to put you in jeopardy as well by staying active. Part of me thinks, ‘AJ, just get on your bike for ten rounds,’ but you don’t want to do that either because you don’t want Ngannou walking you down.

“So, it’s to be educated pressure, it’s got to be smart, and you got to hurt him,” said Hearn.

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