Joshua Vs. Ngannou: Mega-fight Brewing In Saudi Arabia?
A possible mega-clash between Anthony Joshua and former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is reportedly in the works for March 16th in Saudi Arabia.
Gareth A. Davies mentions that fight is being talked about potentially happening next, as there’s so much money to be made in an event between the popular Ngannou (0-1) and former two-time heavyweight champion Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs).
Ngannou gave the 35-year-old Tyson Fury all he could handle last October, knocking him down and beating the daylights out of him in a fight that many saw as a robbery.
Fury was given the win, but he looked like the loser at the end, and some feel that the only reason he was given the victory was to keep him on path for the massive clash against Joshua this year.
If Ngannou performs in the same fashion against Joshua, he’ll knock him out, and there won’t be any chance of the judges scoring it. Joshua is chinny and his stamina is still poor.
“That is the talk [Joshua vs. Ngannou]. There’s a risk. We’ve seen now what Ngannou can do,” said Gareth A. Davies to Boxing Social about a fight in the works between Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou for March 9th in Saudi Arabia.
“I don’t think he’ll do too much different against AJ. Can AJ budge him if he fights him? Yes. Can Ngannou hurt AJ? Yes, so there’s jeopardy there. Personally, I’d rather see AJ fight Hrgovic next, but the amount of money on the table for [Joshua-Ngannou in Saudi Arabia].
Boxing fans aren’t so much excited about seeing the 37-year-old Ngannou in another cross-sports event, given he’s not well known to them and he already lost his last fight.
They wanted to see AJ step it up against a world-class opponent like Zhilei Zhang or Filip Hrgovic. There’s no way that Eddie Hearn would allow Joshua to fight Zhang or Hrgovic, given the big money at stake for an AJ vs. Fury fight in December.
“Ngannou is such a tease financially for any of them. It’ll be a ten round fight. I still think Ngannou will be dangerous for ten minutes, very dangerous in those first ten minutes because if he gets a foothold in the fight, as he did against Fury, he’s going to do damage,” said Gareth.
Dangers and advantages
“The advantage that Joshua has if he fights him is, you can’t take the guy lightly anymore because you know what he’s capable of now. He’s a 6’5″ man who really laid the assault on Fury in the eighth round, and knocked him down in the third,” Gareth said.
MMA fans will watch in high numbers, and the Saudis apparently like the idea of seeing Joshua & Ngannou clash. In terms of PPV, it’s difficult to predict whether people would be willing to pay to see Joshua fight a novice, as this last fight was a horrible mismatch against Otto Wallin, and he hasn’t fought a quality opponent for a couple of years since his second loss to Oleksandr Usyk in 2022.
“A lot of fans watching thought that he became the winner of the fight. It could be ten rounds of war,” said Gareth. “One of them is getting knocked out, and you’ve got to hope for boxing’s sake that it’s not Anthony Joshua because that does disrupt the applecart in lots of ways. Who knows?”
Ngannou is a very dangerous fight for Joshua because this is the first puncher that AJ will have fought in many years, as he’s been matched by Hearn against pillow-fisted opponents since his close call against Alexandr Povetkin in 2018, and he was hurt in the eighth round in that fight.
“This is what it’s all about. This is why Agit Kabayel sits in a great position. It’s why Joseph Parker sits in a great position. There’s so many options because the money is there, and the fights are going to be made,” said Gareth about Saudi Arabia.