Francis Ngannou


Francis Ngannou had perhaps the best loss in a professional debut boxing has ever seen. Now he gets Anthony Joshua.

The former UFC heavyweight champion will face the former unified heavyweight champion in a 10-round match Friday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, five months after Ngannou earned the boxing world’s respect with a split decision loss to WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

Ngannou entered that Fury match as a heavy underdog against the champion — one promoter called the matchup “a disgrace” — but he differentiated himself from the many MMA fighters-turned-boxers with a performance that wouldn’t have looked out of place from a seasoned heavyweight contender. He managed to knock down Fury in the third round and had the crowd chanting his name in the final round.

What time is Anthony Joshua fight? UK start time for Francis Ngannou fight  - Mirror Online


The Cameroonian is once again an underdog against Joshua, but a much closer one at +230 on BetMGM (he was +800 versus Fury).

Meanwhile, Joshua arrives at this fight at an interesting point in his career. It has been 2 1/2 years since he lost his titles to Oleksandr Usyk and 18 months since he fell in the rematch. He has since reeled off three consecutive wins over Jermaine Franklin, Robert Helenius and Otto Wallin, but will likely have to wait a while if he ever wants another title shot. For now, he’s gets boxing’s newest rising star in Ngannou and the payday that comes with it.

The co-main event features an intriguing matchup between WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang and Joseph Parker. WBC featherweight champion Rey Vargas faces undefeated prospect Nick Ball on the undercard.

Francis Ngannou told five things he must do against Anthony Joshua in mega-fight

Ngannou takes on Joshua next week as he looks to record his first professional boxing victory, five months after almost beating Tyson Fury

Francis Ngannou has been given a long list of instructions as he prepares to take on Anthony Joshua next week.

Ngannou, who dropped Tyson Fury on his professional boxing debut last October before falling to a narrow split-decision after 10 rounds, goes into Friday’s clash as a significant underdog. Joshua has won his last three fights and knows victory could propel him into another world title fight.

One of those victories last year came against Jermain Franklin and the heavyweight has offered Ngannou some advice ahead of his second boxing bout. “Francis needs to do these five things,” he told Action Network. “1. He needs to come out fast and bully AJ, Joshua does not like to be bullied. 2. He must use his jab to set up his power, he cannot look for one shot to take him out. 3. Francis needs to stay patient and wait for the opening like he did with Fury. 4. He will need to take AJ’s power, and if he can do that, he has a major chance to win. 5. He must focus on working the body and using angles to counter AJ’s power.”

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Joshua, meanwhile, will not simply bulldoze his way through Ngannou and must seek to wear out the mixed martial artist-turned-boxer before landing any knockout blow, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.

Ngannou may have lost the element of surprise after a staggering professional boxing debut last October when the former UFC heavyweight champion knocked down Tyson Fury before losing a debatable decision.

tyson fury, anthony joshua,francis ngannou,deontay wilder

He will look to prove his performance was no fluke on March 8 against Joshua , who hopes to put himself in the shop window for a crack at British compatriot Fury or a trilogy meeting against Oleksandr Usyk.

But promoter Hearn thinks Ngannou poses a sizeable challenge despite his novice status and is unlikely to fold as so many of Joshua’s past opponents have done when confronted by his frightening punch power.

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“It’s definitely a fight with a lot of jeopardy,” Hearn told the PA news agency. “You really have to be on your guard for this fight, you’ve got to be razor-sharp. Francis has surprised everybody. He’s one stubborn competitor and it’s not going to be easy, you’ll have to knock him down and keep banging and banging and banging away.

Francis Ngannou addresses experience mismatch with Anthony Joshua, reveals what he is “counting on” to emerge victorious

Francis Ngannou feels that his fire will lead to a win over Anthony Joshua later this month.

‘The Predator’ and ‘Anthony Joshua’ are currently set to collide on March 8 in Saudi Arabia. For Ngannou, the boxing match will just be the second of his career. Last October, the former UFC champion nearly upset Tyson Fury, even dropping the boxer en route to a split-decision defeat.

Now, back in Saudi Arabia, the PFL heavyweight is once again the underdog. Next Friday, Ngannou will look to defeat a former two-time champion in the form of Joshua. The British boxer enters the matchup riding a three-fight winning streak, last demolishing Otto Wallin in December.

Ngannou will have to try to bridge the experience gap to defeat Anthony Joshua next week. However, the former UFC champion doesn’t really view the fight like that, as he mentioned in a recent interview with Queensbury Promotions.

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In the interview, the PFL heavyweight contender stated that he’s trying hard not to focus on the experience advantage of ‘AJ’. Instead, he’s focusing on his intangibles. Ngannou stated:

We are not going there talking about [boxing] skills or experience or anything to compare that. We are so far from each other in that sense. But the only thing I count on is my determination, my dedication, my will, my fire.”

Who is expected to win in Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou? Current betting odds

Francis Ngannou is again the underdog against Anthony Joshua.

‘The Predator’ famously entered his boxing debut last fall against Tyson Fury as a massive underdog. However, Ngannou famously dropped and nearly upset ‘The Gypsy King’. Ultimately, Fury managed to escape with a split-decision win last October.

Still, the MMA fighter’s performance impressed many and guaranteed that he would get another high-profile boxing match. After Deontay Wilder’s upset loss to Joseph Parker last December, Ngannou was slotted in to face Joshua.

anthony joshua , francis ngannou

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However, while Francis Ngannou impressed many fans and fighters, he’s again the underdog for his return. According to the current betting odds from MGM, Anthony Joshua is a slight -350 favorite. Meanwhile, the MMA fighter returns as a +275 underdog.

It’s worth noting that while the odds will likely change by fight night, it seems guaranteed that Ngannou will enter the underdog. Then again, if there’s anyone who could shock the odds, it’s ‘The Predator’.

Did Tyson Fury perform poorly, or was Francis Ngannou actually … good? Anthony Joshua fight will provide answers

Francis Ngannou shocked the world when he dropped Tyson Fury in his first professional boxing bout. Can he repeat the feat when he fights Anthony Joshua?

Francis Ngannou may be one of the most high profile combat sports athletes in the world, but his true quality as a boxer remains to be seen.

So far Ngannou only has 10 rounds of professional boxing behind him. But they did come against arguably the best heavyweight in the sport in Tyson Fury.

Ngannou did have success in the bout, dropping Fury even though ultimately he lost a split decision. Either he over-performed or Fury under-performed.

“It is difficult to know but it’s going to be very interesting to find out,” said Sky Sports commentator Andy Clarke.

“Talking to [Ngannou’s] trainer, Dewey Cooper and he feels like there’s a lot more to come in this second fight because in the first fight they were worried about his gas tank.

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‘Double knockout’ ending teased for Anthony Joshua’s fight with Francis Ngannou

Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou will face off in the ring next Friday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the chance to earn an undisputed world title shot.

Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou have filmed a ‘double knockout’ ending for their fight. The pair were filming a trailer for their heavyweight showdown, which ended in both of them knocking each other out. The bout takes place in Saudi Arabia this month.

Joshua, a former two-time heavyweight world champion, will face UFC icon Ngannou next Friday in Riyadh. The winner will get the chance to compete for an undisputed world title. This will be Ngannou’s second professional boxing match after he knocked down Tyson Fury in his debut last October but lost in a controversial decision.

The promotional video for their fight, inspired by Street Fighter, is being called ‘Knockout Chaos’. It shows the two fighters going head-to-head in various cities, before they both knock each other out in the ring. The words ‘Game Over’ then appear on the screen.

Fans loved the trailer, with one saying: “That might be the coolest fight promo I’ve ever seen. A second user added: “Thoughts on the double KO ending? I guess it was chaotic.”

A final comment read: “This may be the best promo for a fight I’ve ever seen. Also I’m so hyped for this fight! This is going to be a good one for sure.”

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The promotion for the fight is at an all-time high, with its own game where fans can play as either Joshua or Ngannou and try to knock each other out. Joshua has said that his fight against Ngannou is one of the toughest challenges of his career, while the former UFC champion seemed surprised by his rival’s attitude.

anthony joshua , francis ngannou

“Anthony Joshua never trash talks, his personality is more serious unlike Tyson Fury who is more like a playboy. I think when it comes to fighting, they both know how to fight and that’s what I’m focused on. He might have been nervous but that doesn’t mean anything,” Ngannou told Mirror Fighting.

“In fact I think being nervous means he is taking things very serious. It’s very important because he’s going to do his best to show up on the day with everything.”

Ngannou also refused to look too deeply into Joshua’s refusal of a knockout prediction. He added: “Refusing to say doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want it. I think that he’s just being sceptic.”

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Joshua, meanwhile, told BBC Sport: “He gave Fury an unbelievable fight. I thought ‘hang on a minute here’. The fight was not something I was looking at straight away, but that’s someone who is going to cause a bit of chaos in the heavyweight division.”

Joshua continued: “In three years of coming into boxing I became Olympic champion. In three years as a professional I became a world champion. You don’t have to have a whole heap of experience.”

Francis Ngannou is a big risk for Anthony Joshua and boxing world is divided on fighters with immense knockout power – here’s who they see winning

Most experts are backing Anthony Joshua to overcome Francis Ngannou next week but a few brave ones are going against the grain.

On March 8, two of the hardest hitters from the worlds of MMA and boxing collide at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Joshua will be bidding to save boxing’s reputation after the Cameroonian cage fighter dropped and almost stopped Tyson Fury during their nip-and-tuck affair in October.

Ahead of the Fury fight few gave Ngannou even the slimmest chance of victory but many felt he had done enough to win it when the final bell sounded.

It’s a similar story here, with most anticipating that Joshua, a two-time unified heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist, should get the better of the boxing novice – although not everyone agrees.

Here, talkSPORT.com takes a look at some stand-out industry picks for Joshua vs Ngannou.

Who is backing Ngannou?

Dan Hardy

Former UFC welterweight contender Dan Hardy was one of the few experts who stuck his neck out and picked Ngannou to ‘surprise’ Fury.

And, he was equally insistent on Ngannou’s chances against Joshua when he caught up with talkSPORT.come earlier this week.

“First of all, he’s got the confidence that he can do 10 rounds now after doing 10 rounds against Fury, which means that we’re going to get a Ngannou who is going to be more willing to engage and more willing to push a pace.

tyson fury, anthony joshua,francis ngannou,deontay wilder

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“Rather than kind of stand his ground and pick his punches like he did against Fury.

“I feel like he’s going to be a bit more of a bully against AJ. And I don’t think that works out very well for AJ because you’ve got to remember he’s in the process of rebuilding himself right now.

“Ngannou is 0-1 in professional boxing, and he’s a huge, huge risk for AJ. Now, Fury is going to look at that risk and go ‘yeah, okay, but I’ve got the skills, I’ll be able to tie him up and make him miss, etc, etc.

“I don’t know as AJ has got that same kind of internal confidence that just emanates from him like it does from Fury.

“And I think if, for example, AJ hits the canvas like Fury did, does he get back up with the same kind of confidence to be able to regroup? I’m not so sure.”

Martin Bakole

You will be hard-pressed to find boxers who are genuinely backing Ngannou to beat Joshua but one of them is Congolese heavyweight Martin Bakole.

Bakole has shared several rounds of sparring with Joshua over the years but he is backing Ngannou to knock the Brit out after watching the Fury fight.

“He [Fury] took Ngannou easy, not too serious. He thought he would stop him by round five but Ngannou took it serious and thought that if he stops Tyson Fury he will make a name for himself in boxing.

“To be honest, Joshua is going to be different [to Fury] because Joshua saw Ngannou was coming to box [versus Fury] as well, he will take it serious.

“He is a good man, he has got a good heart and he’s got everything up there, if he lands on Joshua, I think that he will stop him because this time he is taking it seriously as well and he will be working hard on it [his boxing skills].”

anthony joshua

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Who is backing Joshua?

Ricky Hatton

Ricky Hatton believes Joshua has ‘enough firepower’ to shine against Ngannou.

“If you’re asking where my money would go, it would go on AJ because he’s an exceptional boxer, you don’t become an Olympic gold medalist and a two-time world champion for nothing,” he said.

“He doesn’t have the lateral movement of Tyson Fury, so he’s going to be standing in front of Francis Ngannou, which worries me a little bit because if AJ does cop one, that could be that.

“But I’m going to go with AJ based on his confidence and his new team. I think he’ll have enough firepower to shine against Ngannou.”

Amir Khan

Amir Khan expects Joshua to learn from Fury’s mistakes and get the better of Ngannou.

“I don’t know if Tyson took his foot off the gas, not expecting what he came to do,” Khan told the Sun.

“So I’m sure he’s going to be on his A-game. He’s not going to make the same mistakes and he’s going to train very hard for this fight.

“Because like I said, maybe Tyson overlooked him and thought it was going to be a walk in the park but really he surprised us all.

“So I think this is only going to make Joshua train even harder. But, I got Joshua winning.

Johnny Nelson

Johnny Nelson is extremely confident that Joshua will do the business next week.

“I think he [Joshua] comes through it with flying colours,” Nelson told Sky Sports.

“I think Joshua wants to be world champion again, I think Joshua knows what responsibility he will have. He will know ‘I just have to get through this fight and get the win’ because of the big pot of gold at the end of it.

“Joshua knows he can punch. Joshua knows he has the knockout ability to get rid of him so I would not be surprised if Anthony Joshua thought ‘I am going to stay in the pocket and knock you out’.

“Common sense would be, if you use your boxing ability, it is day and night. But it is the devil in the detail and that is where the problem might lie.”

“Anthony joshua”Direct and without attempting to disguise I’m ready for Frsncis Ngannou

Former world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has said that he is ready to fight Francis Ngannou stating that the former UFC champion had a good outing against current WBC champion Tyson Fury, The PUNCH reports.

The clash between Joshua and Ngannou is billed to take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 8, 2024.

Ngannou shocked the world when he dropped undefeated boxer Fury in the third round of their bout last October but he eventually lost the bout in a split decision.

“I just feel to myself I will always be here and ready to fight any time,” the 34-year-old told Sky Sports ahead of his bout against Ngannou.

“He (Ngannou) had a good outing as well against Tyson Fury who is the current WBC champion. So I think it will be good for me to see where I’m at.”

Sequence of elite opponents

Throughout his career, Joshua has taken on a sequence of elite opponents, from Wladimir Klitschko to Oleksandr Usyk, with Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin and many more in between.

However, obvious omissions from Joshua’s CV are American knockout specialist Deontay Wilder and rival Fury.

Joshua however points out that even though bouts with those opponents never came to fruition, he has previously agreed to fight both men to highlight that he does not avoid big fights.

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“You now what it proved to me, I’ve signed to fight Fury, I’ve signed to fight Wilder, I’ve signed to fight a lot of people,” he told Sky Sports.

“I just do good business. I’m a good prizefighter, I don’t duck a challenge. I’m always up for it. I just feel to myself I’ll always be here and ready to fight any time.”

anthony joshua

Joshua and Fury looked to have struck a deal to fight in 2021 in Saudi Arabia before the Gypsy King was ordered to face Wilder himself for a third time following an arbitration.

WBC title after his second loss to Usyk

Then the following year, Fury made an offer to Joshua to fight for his WBC title after his second loss to Usyk, before setting him a string of deadlines to agree the fight, and eventually calling it off after the Watford-born star failed to return his contract in time.

Speaking of talks with Wilder, Joshua added that the fight was not dead in the water saying, “We met up, we spoke to lawyers, we signed contracts, all that good stuff.

But which heavyweight fighter comes out on top? Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Francis Ngannou and Deontay Wilder have ALL had a go on arcade punch machine…

Francis ngannou as the superior hitting power to Anthony Joshua, while Tyson Fury dominated Deontay Wilder, according to their scores on a punch machine.

Ngannou is set for his second professional boxing bout when he meets Joshua in Saudi Arabia on March 8 after previously impressing in his defeat against Tyson Fury.

Joshua is attempting to keep his plans of becoming a three-time heavyweight world title holder alive by beating Ngannou in the hopes of setting up a unificiation fight against the eventual winner of Oleksandr Usyk and Fury’s bout.

But amid the very serious machinations of the heavyweight division, most of the top contenders have been seen trying their hand at the classic punching machine over the years.

Seven fighters in total can be seen in a video that was released on Instagram on Wednesday and the results are very revealing.

First up was Joshua, who, presumably wishing to conceal his true power, opted to use his weaker left hand and still managed an impressive score of 965 units.

However, that was some way off Ngannou with a connection on the punchball that rattled the machine and produced a maximum of 999. It is reasonable to suggest the figure would have continued to rise if the machine recorded four digits.