Hearn on Ngannou: ‘Freak of Nature’ Poses Serious Threat to Joshua

By Michael Collins - 03/06/2024 - Comments

Eddie Hearn is having kittens worrying about Anthony Joshua’s fight against Francis Ngannou this Friday in Riyadh. Although Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) and his coach, Ben Davison, have been studying the ten rounds of video footage on Ngannou from his fight against Tyson Fury, Hearn notes that it may not help.

With Ngannou’s steel chin and immense punching power, Joshua could be up against an unmovable force who can’t be stopped and will force walk through his shots until he gets to his glass chin to break him into a thousand pieces in their headliner at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Hearn would be forced to pick up the pieces of Joshua’s shattered career and attempt to piece him together again, likely with more Otto Wallin-esque level oppoisition to repackage him to the UK public, but not necessarily the U.S fans, who are a little bit more discerning.

Friday’s Joshua vs. Ngannou event will be shown live on DAZN PPV. The start time is 4:00 p.m. UK and 11:00 a.m. ET. The main event ring walks are approximately 10:50 p.m. UK and 5:50 p.m. ET.

As you can see, there will be some lag time between the start of the event and the Joshua-Ngannou headliner clash. It’s unknown whether the Saudis will play music or fill the time with commentators discussing the contests.

Can Joshua Overcome the Predator?

“When you’re that strong, you can change a fight at any given moment. You can be dominating a fight for five or six rounds and walk into one, and a fight can be over,” said Eddie Hearn to the Sun Sport YouTube channel about the size and power of Francis Ngannou for his fight on Friday against Anthony Joshua.

“This is probably the most nervous I’ve been for a fight because it’s a little bit of the unknowns about Ngannou. I’m looking at him like, ‘Can you even hurt him? Can you push him back?’ He’s just a freak of nature, but I still stand by the fact that AJ is better in every single department, and he’s got to show it on Friday.”

The part where Hearn claims Joshua is “better in every single department” is meaningless for this fight, considering that Ngannou is so powerful and relentless. He also has a chin that can take huge shots without breaking, which means Joshua’s talent won’t help him if his chin can’t hold up.

It’s not Joshua’s chin that could fail him. His stamina is horrible, and his inability to handle psychological stress puts him in a highly vulnerable state against Ngannou. Let’s face it: Joshua isn’t meant for war. He’s more of a garrison soldier, doing KP duty or piling sandbags. Putting him on the frontlines is too hazardous, especially if you stick him on point.

“I’ve always said that if AJ understands the game plan, I think he’s unbeatable. He did it in Ruiz 2,” said Hearn. “He did in a lot of the early part of his career. He lost a little bit of trust and belief in the team to deliver that game plan. Usyk 1 was an example of not understanding the game plan at all.

Joshua’s Rebirth?

“He did that perfectly against Wallin. The difference in this fight is you’ve only got ten rounds of coverage of Ngannou, which is difficult. Fury had none, but they will have a game plan to exploit the weaknesses of Ngannou. AJ is enjoying it,” said Hearn.

You can’t count Otto Wallin as being a fight that proved anything about Joshua, as this was such a poor opponent. Wallin looked old and soft in that fight, like he hadn’t trained, and wasn’t the same guy that came close to beating Tyson Fury in 2019.

“He’s punching harder than I’ve ever seen him punch, and he’s more confident than I’ve ever seen him. So, yeah, the linkup [with new coach Ben Davison] has been great,” said Hearn.

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