Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou: Predictions from the world of boxing



Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou: Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren's big fight predictions

Venue: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Date: Friday, 8 March Time: Approx 23:00 GMT

Coverage: Follow live text coverage on the BBC Sport website & app from 20:00 GMT, live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live from 21:00 GMT.


Two-time world champion Joshua has rebuilt his career with three straight victories over the past 11 months, but now he comes up against the former UFC champion who has little to lose.

French-Cameroonian Ngannou made his boxing debut against Tyson Fury in October, sensationally dropping the WBC world champion in a non-title bout before losing on a split decision.

Is Ngannou just a flash in the pan or a serious heavyweight contender? With a potential fight with Fury on the horizon, will Joshua buckle under the pressure?

Here are some predictions from big names in the boxing world.

British heavyweight champion Fabio Wardley: "I think AJ will win. Whether it's a knockout or not I don't know because Ngannou is a very tough man.

"Yes, AJ is very strong and does punch very hard himself, but it is a bit of a different animal with someone like Ngannou who is used to taking elbows and knees to the head."

Middleweight Hamzah Sheeraz: "Anthony Joshua knocks him out in six to eight rounds. His correct fundamentals will come into play and his explosiveness will be too much for Ngannou."

Multiple-weight world champion Natasha Jonas: "I don't think we'll see a complacent Joshua. He'll be training 100% for the best of Ngannou and I think he wins by stoppage. That's a big ask, but I think he does it."

Heavyweight Otto Wallin: "I hope Joshua will come out aggressive again because then I think he will knock him out. We know Ngannou has power and if Joshua tries to play safe then he might get clipped. But I hope he is aggressive. If he knocks Ngannou out it makes me look better."

Heavyweight Zhilei Zhang: "AJ by knockout."


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Heavyweight Joseph Parker: "I can't really call it. It's a tough one. Ngannou is a good friend of mine and AJ is very respectful and we do have chats here and there. It will be a good fight. May the best man win."

WBO welterweight world champion Sandy Ryan: "AJ by knockout."

Retired world champion and boxing coach Anthony Crolla: "You know what I did last time, I made myself look very silly by saying Francis Ngannou had absolutely zero chance of never mind beating Tyson Fury or giving him a half decent fight and I ate humble pie. However, I think the shock element is not there now.

"I believe we'll see Anthony Joshua win inside five rounds. I think it'll be entertaining, he'll start fast and look to put Ngannou in his place. He won't have the same unpredictability and be underestimated like Fury did. AJ inside five."

Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou explained

Former world champion Hannah Rankin: "This is a dangerous fight for AJ as he has everything to lose but he has the better skillset and boxing brain so I think, as long as he keeps it long and doesn't get involved inside with Ngannou, he'll take the win."

Heavyweight Joe Joyce: "It could go either way, it's a big fight. They're both powerful guys dedicated in training. It could be a double KO like the trailer. May the best man win, 50/50 fight for me."

Super-flyweight prospect Shannon Ryan: "My fight prediction is a ninth-round knockout by the main man himself, Anthony Joshua."

Lightweight world title contender Rhiannon Dixon: "I was really shocked at how well Francis Ngannou did in the Fury fight. Sometimes, when I've sparred MMA fighters, they don't box conventionally, it's quite difficult to figure them out. You get caught with these weird shots like a superman punch. But Joshua has made a lot of improvements so I think AJ will win. Maybe by stoppage."

Heavyweight Moses Itauma: "My initial thought was AJ would knock Francis out late but then I clocked onto his UFC fight and even his fight with Tyson fury, he gets caught big and doesn't move. I think AJ's experience and boxing IQ will prevail and it'll be a unanimous points victory."

Cruiserweight Viddal Riley: "AJ to win between rounds five and seven."

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Keywords: Boxing

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