Promotions

Anthony Joshua looks ‘spectacular’ in sparring but Eddie Hearn sends warning about Francis Ngannou

Joshua

Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn insists the former world champion is in ‘spectacular’ shape ahead of his fight with Francis Ngannou.

Joshua and Ngannou will face each other in Saudi Arabia on March 8 for the right to challenge for the undisputed heavyweight title, which will be decided between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk in May.

‘AJ’ is rebuilding his career after losing his belts to Oleksandr Usyk, who is fighting WBC champion Tyson Fury in a unification bout in May after their February date was postponed.

Joshua is hoping to take on the winner later in 2024 after impressive recent victories over Jermaine Franklin, Robert Hellenius and Otto Wallin.

However, ex-MMA star Ngannou showed that he is not to be taken lightly after making Fury sweat for a controversial split-decision win on his boxing debut last October.

When asked what fans can expect from Joshua next month, Hearn told talkSPORT: “He looks great.

“I went down his gym last week with [trainer] Ben Davison. They’re working really well.

“It’s a dangerous fight, you know, I think on paper you expect AJ to take care of him, but as we saw on paper, it didn’t really pan out that way for the Fury fight.

“So we know that and Ngannou is a big lump. He punches hard. Mentally, he’s very strong and he can fight.

“But I just think AJ’s looking spectacular and I think he’s gonna do a job on Ngannou on March 8th.”

 

 

Hearn

The fight will be taking place on the unusual time of Friday night as the Saudi Arabia grand prix is happening on Saturday.

This will be just Ngannou’s second outing as a professional boxer following the lucrative match with Fury, which he lost in Riyadh.

Despite the loss, though, AJ has been warned that Ngannou has been improving since.

“I know what the boxing public is saying. ‘He caught Tyson Fury off guard, there was no way to study him, Anthony Joshua will be prepared for him’,” Cooper told talkSPORT.com.

“The one component they are forgetting is that was Francis Ngannou’s first boxing fight. In his first fight, he fought a 10-round fight against the best heavyweight in the world.

“Don’t you think his learning curve from his first fight to his second 10-round fight is going to be vast? That’s what you’re going to see, you’re going to see a more improved version of Ngannou on March 8 in Saudi Arabia.”

Ngannou had reigned supreme as the UFC heavyweight champion, but vacated his title when he split from the promotion to chase his boxing dream.

Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou: Betting Odds

Anthony Joshua heads into Riyadh as a heavy favourite at 1/5. If Ngannou is preferred after he showed his power against Tyson Fury, you can get him to win at 10/3. A draw can be found at 20/1.