Joshua vs. Ngannou: Skill vs. Power, and the X-Factor of Francis’ Chin

By Michael Collins - 03/05/2024 - Comments

Eddie Hearn and Johnny Nelson believe the more skilled Anthony Joshua should beat Francis Ngannou this Friday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Matchroom promoter Hearn Hearn believes the job should be a fairly easy task for Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs), provided he sticks to his boxing, and doesn’t elect to trade shots with Ngannou.

Nelson thinks that the former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou shouldn’t be able to defeat Joshua, but if he does, it would be a real blow. What Nelson may be missing out on is Joshua had virtually little experience in the sport when he made it to the 2012 Olympics in London.

Joshua made it on size and power, which covered up his lack of experience and technical ability. As a pro, AJ still looks lost when fighting guys with talent.

So, it’s not a surprise that Ngannou is doing the same thing that Joshua did by entering the pro ranks and looking impressive based on his size and power.

In some ways, Ngannou is a better version of Joshua due to his chin, toughness, and ring IQ. He’s definitely smarter than Joshua, and he stays composed under fire.

Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou showdown, Eddie Hearn and Johnny Nelson weigh in on the key factors that could decide this explosive encounter.

Hearn’s Strategy: Exploit Ngannou’s Stamina Problems

“If I’m AJ, I’m going in there and getting the job done. I’m outboxing him, boxing his earholes off. The one thing we don’t know is how good is Ngannou’s chin. It might be unbelievable. I’ve got a feeling he can really take a shot, but if he gets hit hard and fast by AJ, maybe he can’t,” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV about this Friday’s match-up between former two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and the upset-minded upstart, Francis Ngannou in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Joshua will probably try to outbox Ngannou rather than slugging with him or pushing a fast pace, as Hearn would like for him to do.

To push a fast pace would mean that Joshua would have to exchange with Ngannou, and he can’t do that because his conditioning is worse and his punch resistance is too lacking.

“I think the key to this fight is making Ngannou fight at a pace that’s uncomfortable, but when you do that, it’s also dangerous,” said Hearn. Against Fury, Ngannou looked like he was going to gas several times, and Fury just went, ‘You know what? I’m going to stay out of the way here.’ He let Ngannou not get tired.

Nelson’s Warning: A Loss Would be Devastating for Boxing

“In boxing, Ngannou should not be able to go in there and beat Anthony Joshua because what does that say? The guy is a professional boxing novice,” said Johnny Nelson. “He was the best in his field, but it shouldn’t happen in our sport. If it does, damn.”

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