Eddie Hearn Believes in Joshua: ‘He’ll Make a Statement’ Against Ngannou

By Michael Collins - 02/16/2024 - Comments

Promoter Eddie Hearn believes Anthony Joshua will be in top form next month to “make a statement” in his 10-round fight against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (0-1) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) has a massive experience advantage going into this fight against the novice Ngannou, but that may not be enough for him if he gets clipped or runs out of gas. As we’ve seen over the last seven years, Joshua is deficient in both areas, and he’s generally failed when facing A-level fighters.

AJ needs this win to fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship against the Tyson Fury vs. Oleksansandr Usyk fight.

His His Excellency Turki Alalshikh has set things up easy for the 34-year-old Joshua to get the winner of that fight, allowing him to face Ngannou rather than one of the talented world-level contenders like Zhilei Zhang, who would have a far better shot of defeating him.

If Joshua fails here against Ngannou, it will be difficult for him to get another chance easier than this without it looking like the opportunity is being given to him on a silver platter based on his popularity rather than achievement.

Joshua’s Work Ethic & Hunger

“I believe he’ll do a job on Francis Ngannou while also understanding the risk. A big man with incredible power and strength. But I believe AJ will make a statement in Riyadh on March the 8th,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing, talking about Anthony Joshua’s risky clash against the powerful Francis Ngannou next month on March 8th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“I’ve seen AJ train for eleven years. I’ve seen him in every different camp. I’ve seen him in Sheffield. I’ve seen him in Essex. I’ve seen him in Dallas. I’ve seen him back in Essex. I’ve seen him everywhere. He’s a fantastic sponge of knowledge. I don’t know anyone who works harder consistently, out of camp, in camp, and on holiday.

Joshua is dedicated, but his opposition since his back-to-back losses to Usyk has been underwhelming. In AJ’s last three fights, he’s beaten these guys:

  • Otto Wallin
  • Robert Helenius
  • Jermaine Franklin

The Stakes Are High

“Ben [Davison] has to reign him back. I think, coming off the Wallin performance, he’s hungrier than ever to succeed. So, he’d driven to perform on March the 8th. It’s a really big night for him,” said Hearn.

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