Claressa Shields Gives Expert Prediction On Joshua Vs. Ngannou: “I Feel Like It’ll Be A Split Decision”

By James Slater - 02/22/2024 - Comments

As fight fans know, Francis Ngannou shocked the hell out of Tyson Fury, and out of all of us, by taking the reigning (but not defending) WBC heavyweight champion all the way, only to lose via split decision – this in Ngannou’s pro boxing debut. Now, just weeks away from his second pro bout, against Anthony Joshua, Ngannou says he will have “more to show” in the ring on March 8.

The ‘surprise factor’ gone, Ngannou having shown in the Fury fight that he can box, that he can more than hold his own despite coming to the boxing ring as such an advanced age, Joshua will, in the opinion of plenty of experts, have his way with the former UFC heavyweight champ. But not everyone agrees. Indeed, plenty of people see this one as a very risky fight for AJ.

Female superstar Claressa Shields says she expects to see another distance fight on March 8, one that will also see Ngannou either win or lose via split decision.

Speaking with Sky Sports ahead of her own return to MMA, Shields said that Joshua “has a lot to prove” in this fight.

“I think it’s going to be a good fight,” Shields said of Joshua-Ngannou. “At first I kind of felt that AJ was going to knock out Ngannou, that’s how I saw the fight. Now it’s kind of shifted on, I feel like it’ll be a split decision going either guy’s way. I say that because it feels like AJ has a lot to prove and I feel like when he’s got a lot to prove sometimes he puts too much pressure on himself and he doesn’t fight his fight. And if he doesn’t fight his fight against Francis, Francis is a big, strong and powerful guy too so it can be a closer fight. I believe AJ has everything in the tank to beat Francis. He just has to do it.”

Interesting stuff from Shields. First off, and I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen many, if any, predictions that say this fight will go the limit. Most everyone feels one guy will lower the boom at some point and get the KO or stoppage. Also, Shields may well be right when she talks about the mental side of this fight. We’ve seen how utterly relaxed Ngannou has been in the lead-up to the fight, while Joshua, though composed, has had the look of a man who is doing some pretty serious thinking. And might AJ overthink in this fight? Might the former two-time heavyweight champ put too much pressure on himself as Shields suggests could be the case?

For Joshua, winning might not be enough, he may be going into this fight looking to not only win but to win in style. You know, the way Fury was unable to do. All we can absolutely agree on is the fact that this fight is a genuinely fascinating one. Everyone has their take on what will happen in Saudi when these two huge guys (Ngannou being especially huge) rumble.

But again, not too many people seem to think this one will go to the score cards. But then again, how many of us felt the Fury-Ngannou fight would go all the way?