Hearn’s Plan: Joshua Must “Bust Up” Ngannou to Secure Undisputed Shot

By Robbie Bannatyne - 03/04/2024 - Comments

Promoter Eddie Hearn feels that Anthony Joshua must “bust up” Francis Ngannou in their ten-round heavyweight content this Friday on DAZN PPV in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Hearn believes that Ngannou is “dangerous” due to his power, so he wants the former two-time champion Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) to play it “smart” and slowly break down the former UFC heavyweight champion before stopping him.

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Joshua is taking this fight against Ngannou because the Saudis have determined that this is the path to the undisputed championship against the Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk winner.

If Joshua wins, he could fight for the undisputed in his next bout, depending on if the Saudis want him to take that match next. Fury-Usyk has a rematch clause, but the Saudis will decide when that happens.

Respecting Ngannou’s Power

“I was the first one to criticize Ngannou against Fury. I thought that was a mismatch. He went in, and, in my opinion, he beat him. If not, it was a very close fight; He dropped Tyson Fury. He gave himself all the credibility to fight the top heavyweights in the world,” said Eddie Hearn to Fight Hub TV, talking about this Friday’s fight between Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou.

“He’s [Ngannou] very dangerous. On paper, you expect AJ to win this fight, but he’s got to be smart. He’s got to try and bust him up, but Ngannou is fearless and very dangerous in this fight,” said Hearn.

Before Ngannou fought Fury, it was widely known that he was a huge puncher from his days in the UFC, being the most powerful guy in the sport. While some thought that Ngannou’s power wouldn’t translate to boxing, it was obvious to most that his power would be just as formidable.

“Anyway, victory comes is a blessing. If he can make a statement and do much better than Fury, it’s always nice. He [Joshua] did that against [Otto] Wallin, but that’s not the aim. It’s not why we’re picking these opponents,” said Hearn.

The Path to Undisputed

“We’re picking this opponent [Ngannou] because we were told [by the Saudis] this is the route to become undisputed champion. That’s what we want, and we’re looking forward to Friday night,” said Hearn.

Some fans have taken issue with Joshua being able to cut corners to get to the doorstep of fighting for the undisputed, but it shows you that boxing is more of a business than a sport, which sets it apart. If it were a sport, Joshua would have to fight Zhilei Zhang to earn the chance to fight for the undisputed.

“It’s a really risky fight, but I think you’ve got to break him [Ngannou] down. I think AJ will get to him, bust him up, and stop him, but it might be a few hairy moments along the way,” said Hearn.

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