This Friday, March 8th, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Anthony Joshua will attempt to do what Tyson Fury couldn’t when he faces off against now 0-1 professional boxer and the top MMA heavyweight Francis Ngannou. In October 2023, Francis Ngannou made his professional boxing debut against the WBC heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury. While many expected Fury to take care of business against the debutant, Ngannou shocked the world when he knocked Fury down. While Fury took a controversial split decision victory, the boxing world was left very impressed by what Ngannou did in the ring against the top heavyweight of the sport.

Although Fury won, Ngannou showed he could hold his own among the boxing elite. Many doubted Ngannou belonged in the ring, but now he finds himself in a second massive fight in less than a year against the former two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, who is coming off a dominant victory against Otto Wallin. While Ngannou is looking for his first professional victory in boxing, Anthony Joshua has a unique opportunity to one-up his long-time rival. While it has been a while since Anthony Joshua sat atop the division, a convincing victory would put him back in the conversation for the divisions most significant fights.

So what can AJ show Ngannou that Fury could not? Anthony Joshua offers a much more disciplined style of boxing to Ngannou than Fury; his unorthodox style, quick hands, and fancy footwork have allowed him to remain undefeated until now. However, Joshua’s more direct approach may be the key to defeating Ngannou. In both boxing and MMA, it is rare to see Ngannou working off his back foot; if Joshua can force the action against the much less seasoned boxer and pile pressure on early, he may take the easy victory that many predicted Fury to have. If Joshua manages to make it look easy this Friday, the potential Fury vs Joshua fight would be much more enjoyable.

With a win from Ngannou, he would solidify himself as the top heavyweight contender in the world and be only the 3rd man to defeat Anthony Joshua. Regardless of who wins this fight, it has already been announced that the plan is for the winner this Friday to face off against the winner Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk, scheduled for May 8th, with the winner holding the
undisputed title. Depending on the outcome this weekend in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Francis Ngannou or Anthony Joshua could book themselves a ticket to fighting for the most glamorous title in boxing.

Written by: Ryan Gurewitz



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