Anthony Joshua Says He Believes He Can KO Francis Ngannou And “Make A Statement”

By James Slater - 03/04/2024 - Comments

Not too long to go now until the fight that could, Tyson Fury Vs. Oleksndr Usyk aside, be described with some justification as the most fascinating heavyweight match up of the year. Anthony Joshua against Francis Ngannou, this Friday at an early start time (the card to begin at 10.20 am US time, 3.20 pm UK time) – what can we expect?

AJ, in speaking with Sky Sports, says we can expect to see a KO, the knockout being delivered by his good self. Joshua – who some say is really risking things in this fight, with others saying it’s an easy assignment for the 34 year old former two-time heavyweight champ – says he would “love to make a statement.”

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And if Joshua does manage to knock down the wall that is man-mountain Ngannou, he will be making quite the statement. Inevitably, fans will compare Joshua’s performance against Ngannou to Fury’s. Can Joshua do away with Ngannou the way Fury never came close to doing when they rumbled back in October?

“I believe I can knock him out,” Joshua said of the former UFC heavyweight champion. “Definitely. I would love to knock him out and make a statement. Physically I feel strong, feeling good. Strong enough to get the job done and mentally I’m in a place where I’m ready for war. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

As fight fans have pointed out, MMA fans mostly, Ngannou has long since grown accustomed to being hit with punches encased inside four-ounce gloves, and the extra padding used in boxing gloves will feel, indeed has made the punches feel, like kid’s play in comparison. Ngannou has also shown a chin capable of taking elbows and knees, with other body parts bouncing off it inside the cage. Joshua might really have to go some to knock Ngannou out.

Or might AJ show so such superior technique he will time Ngannou and land a crushing shot bang on the chin as the big man advances? This is one scenario that some fans say that have foreseen. But a perfect punch aside, Joshua might not be able to budge Ngannou even if he does get home with some good shots. It’s been said (by True Geordie for one) that Ngannou just might have “the best chin in the heavyweight division.” This is of course saying something when we know that Ngannou has had just one fight in pro boxing. But again, Ngannou has shown many times in MMA fights that he does indeed have a very solid chin.

This Friday’s fight is actually a pretty tough one to pick. As even those people who are picking Ngannou have said, they could be left looking foolish as AJ boxes a clinic in Riyadh. But Ngannou has the raw power to be able to hurt any man he shares a ring with, and the 37 year old could in turn make a fool out of Joshua’s superior boxing skill and game plan with one huge punch.

In this fight, pretty much anything could happen. But a KO, one way or the other, does seem the most likely outcome. Nobody saw the Fury-Ngannou fight going the limit, but this Friday’s fight going to the score cards would be an even bigger surprise. Something tells me that Friday’s fight, dubbed “Knockout Chaos,” will be full of surprises.

Pick: Ngannou by late stoppage, somewhere between rounds 8, 9 and 10.

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