Joshua vs. Ngannou: A Knockout Waiting to Happen

By Charles Brun - 03/04/2024 - Comments

Anthony Joshua believes his fight with Francis Ngannou could come down to which of them lands the first big punch in their ten-round contest this Friday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

There’s not much confidence from the boxing public that Joshua will be able to take more than a handful of hard shots from Ngannou without ending up on his back, counting stars rolling around in his head on Friday at the Kingdom Arena.

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That probably won’t make His Excellency happy seeing AJ get knocked out, but he’s picked an older fighter to put in this kind of fight. Putting an older fighter with a chin problem like Joshua against a slugger like Ngannou, it’s like taking an old car through the 40-mile Grapevine on I-5 in Southern California and hoping it won’t overheat.

The former two-time heavyweight champion Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) believes he’s going to be the one that lands that big punch to score the knockout of the novice Ngannou (0-1) to move him in position to fight for the undisputed championship against the winner of the Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk of their May 18th clash.

It would major disappointment to Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn if Joshua loses this fight because he’s not young at 34, and he’s put a lot of work in ressurecting his career after his two defeats against Usyk, making him believe in himself again.

Fight Strategy

“It depends on which shot. We’re going to be landing a lot of shots, but yeah, there is a possibility, a big possibility,” said Anthony Joshua to the media when asked if there’s a chance that whoever lands the first shot in his fight with Francis Ngannou on Friday will score a knockout in their headliner at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Ngannou has the better chin, as we saw with him taking an elbow from Tyson Fury in the face and not flinching in their clash last October.

“You have to ask Lee Wylie and Ben Davison. I just do the drills that they tell me to do. I’m not going to talk too much about what we watch. That’s down to them to do all that work,” said Joshua on whether there’s enough video footage of Ngannou from the ten rounds he had with Tyson Fury for him and his team to have learned how to defeat Ngannou.

Resurgence or Illusion?

We don’t know if Joshua’s three wins since his loss to Usyk in 2022 is a sign of improvement, or just a case of him taking advantage of soft non-top tier opposition, who had no business fighting a top 15-level fighter in the first place.

Hearn is pretty clever with his match-making and ability to sell a fight, which is why it’s impossible to know if AJ is back to the mint 2013 version that rolled out of the lot when many believe he was at his best. Hearn may have rolled back the odometer, slapped on a new coat of paint and tires, and marketed AJ to the public as being brand new.

“For me, I’m just happy to get the fight down, and I have to fight with passion. Textbook fighting is one thing, but fighting with passion is another, and I’m going in there to be relentless.

The Unpredictability of Boxing

“Yeah, you can,” said Joshua on whether people can expect a knockout from him against Ngannou. “You can plan whatever you want in life, but God and the universe is the best planner because you never know what’s going to happen.

“You plan to go this route, and a curve will get thrown in there. So, I’ll just be ready for whatever and whenever, and I’m here ready for this competition. I’ll still be on the course,” said Joshua.

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