Advertisement

Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou – expert predictions

Anthony Joshua (L) and Francis Ngannou (R) face-off at the press conference ahead of their 'Knockout Chaos' heavyweight fight at Boulevard World on March 06, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou meet in Saudi Arabia on Friday night - Getty Images/Richard Pelham

Anthony Joshua faces the dangerous Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia on Friday night.

Telegraph Sport has approached the great and the good of the boxing world for their assessments of what promises to be an intriguing clash between former heavyweight champions – in boxing and UFC respectively.

Gareth A Davies, Telegraph Boxing Correspondent

Joshua needs to start fast and composed and pick up from where he left off against Otto Wallin in December. Momentum is a huge thing for fighters and a fourth fight in eleven months augers well for the Londoner.

Domination - by boxing skills and jabbing at range to start - will be the key to success. Joshua will want to chop Ngannou down round by round like a big oak tree. But Ngannou will throw with Joshua and look to be explosive. Once fatigued Joshua can win comfortably on points or by late stoppage. But the two time former world champion must caution against becoming caught in the crossfire. Ngannou will be dangerous as long as he is in the ring with AJ.

Amir Khan, former world champion

AJ on points. Tricky fight but I think AJ will get in his groove. AJ needs to stay focused – he can get hurt if he loses focus and gets too comfortable.

I believe Ngannou will take AJ’s power but can AJ take Ngannou’s power ? We shall see. But I think if AJ fights like his last outing he will outbox Francis and get a good unanimous decision win. Mind you, there will be few knockdowns, I think.

Eddie Hearn, promoter Matchroom Boxing

We let class rise and the cream come to the top. We school him, we break him down and we knock him out, and it’s not going to be easy. I saw Tyson Fury say he landed some good shots on Ngannou and he didn’t look overly fazed. It could come down to how Francis Ngannou stands up to the power of AJ.

Francis Ngannou knocks down Tyson Fury during the Heavyweight fight between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou at Boulevard Hall on October 28, 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Ngannou caused Fury real problems in what was ultimately a losing effort - Getty Images/Justin Setterfield

AJ is up for it, he’s motivated, he hasn’t taken him lightly it’s going to be scary ... because of what Ngannou brings... but I think AJ breaks him up and maybe even stops him late.

Frank Smith, CEO Matchroom Boxing

Anthony Joshua stoppage win. Seventh round stoppage, chops Ngannou down. Then gets back in there and becomes a three time heavyweight world champion. We also want to see AJ versus Tyson Fury, so fingers crossed.

Frank Warren, Chairman Queensberry Boxing

I see both fighters having a chance. Ngannou fancies the job against AJ, but AJ fancies the job against him. With his new trainer, Ben Davison, Joshua put in a good performance last time out. It was a fantastic job against Wallin, he’s got himself back in the mix, and this fight could go either way.

Ben Davison, Joshua trainer

Styles make fight and Lee Wylie and myself have out together our plans which I’m obviously not going to make public. But we believe we have the plans in place to beat Ngannou well, and even stop him.

Johnny Nelson, former cruiserweight world champion, broadcaster

AJ outboxes Ngannou and wins on points. I just think he has the skills to do it and control Ngannou.

Dewey Cooper, Ngannou trainer

I’ll give you the game plan right now, Francis is going to hit him hard, and Joshua’s going to go down, that’s the game plan...dead simple. We will test him for sure and then we want the Fury rematch. Believe me Francis has the intangibles to beat anybody because of his life story...

Joe Joyce, heavyweight world title contender

It’s a great fight. They are both powerful they both hit hard they train very hard and are very dedicated. I think it will be a great fight an explosive fight. I’ve sparred both Ngannou and Joshua and Ngannou showed his levels fighting Fury.

Anthony Joshua knocks down Robert Helenius during the Heavyweight fight between Anthony Joshua and Robert Helenius at The O2 Arena on August 12, 2023 in London, England
Anthony Joshua looked back to something approaching his best against Robert Helenius - Getty Images/Julian Finney

Now he’s focusing on boxing you can see what he can do. If I have to pick I think Joshua tries to outbox him and work behind the jab for a points victory, but Ngannou is dangerous.

Zhilei Zhang, heavyweight world title contender

It’s Joshua’s fight to lose. The key will be his defence in this fight, but Joshua has enough experience to outbox Ngannou. It will be a good fight. They are both strong.

Joseph Parker, former world heavyweight champion

No idea. You’d think Joshua, but Ngannou is a beast too, he’s been punched kicked elbowed and he’s not been knocked out or down. It’s going to be interesting to see if Joshua can hurt him. But it’s a great fight. Hard to pick a winner.

Kalle Sauerland, promoter

AJ has the experience and my heart and my head says he wins it. But Ngannou put Fury down in their fight, so we shall see.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.