Hearn on Joshua vs. Ngannou: Nervous, But Expecting a Win

By Michael Collins - 02/21/2024 - Comments

Eddie Hearn is confident but worried about Anthony Joshua’s fight against Francis Ngannou on March 8th. Hearn admits that Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) is heading into “the unknown” against a big puncher, who he feels should be 1-0 coming off an upset victory over Tyson Fury.

With that performance under Ngannou’s belt, Joshua is facing an unbeaten fighter that doesn’t know defeat in the true sense, and it’s not going to be an easy fight for him.

Ngannou can take a punch, and he hits harder than anyone Joshua has faced during his career, and he’s fearless with an excellent chin.

If Ngannou can march through Joshua’s chin on May 8th in their headliner at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, he will knock AJ out. Ngannou hits too hard, and Joshua’s punch resistance is too poor for him to handle the power of the former UFC champion for long without folding.

Respecting Ngannou’s Threat

“I’m always nervous about every AJ fight, especially that one. It’s the unknown, isn’t it?” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV about his worry over Anthony Joshua’s fight against Francis Ngannou on March 8th. “We know more than we did and that he [Ngannou] was a lot better than we thought he would be, which was a very capable boxer and very strong and hits very hard and has no fear.

“You’re fighting a guy who is 0-1, which brings more pressure into it. It’s a must-win for AJ. I went down to see AJ at the gym for the first time last week. I was very, very impressed. I was impressed with the gym and impressed with the setup. I think he [Joshua] looks fantastic, I really do.

“This fight is a little bit different. This isn’t Hrgovic. This isn’t Fury. Arguably, it shouldn’t be as tough as those fights, but it may be a bit more dangerous. I am,” said Hearn when asked if he expects Joshua to knockout Ngannou.

Hearn is giving Fury too much credit because he looks pretty well done at 35, and he was clearly given a gift with his win over Ngannou last October. At this point, Ngannou is better than Fury.

As for Filip Hrgovic, we saw his level when he struggled against Demsey McKean, getting hurt multiple times, and barely pulling through with his repeated punches to the back of the head of the Australian. Ngannou beats Hrgovic as well. Hrgovic would be dangerous for Joshua due to his rabbit punching, but that’s the only reason.

The Fury Comparison

“No, I’m looking for him to win. Now, if he does it in a better fashion than Fury, which basically, if you win the fight, you’ve done that anyway because I don’t think he won the fight. If not, it was a draw or whatever. So, any win in a positive fashion is outperforming Fury,” said Hearn.

“It’s not really about outperforming Fury. I think if he [Joshua] goes in and demolishes him and stops him, it’s a major statement. I just want to win and move on. This is the fourth fight in 11 months. It’s been a fantastic run, and I can’t wait to get out in Saudi,” said Hearn.

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