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  • Made-up “Undisputed” Heavyweight Title
  • Date: Mar 8, 2024
  • Main Card Time: 5 PM ET
  • How to Watch Live: DAZN PPV
Heavyweight Boxing
Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou
SA Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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21+. T&Cs Apply.

Tale of the Tape

Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou

  • Age: Joshua (34) | Ngannou (37)
  • Height: Joshua (6’6”) | Ngannou (6’4”)
  • Reach: Joshua (82”) | Ngannou (83″)
  • Record: Joshua (27-3-0, 24 KOs) | Ngannou (0-1, 0 KOs)
  • Country: Joshua (United Kingdom | Ngannou (Cameroon)
  • 3-Way Odds: Joshua (-450) | Ngannou (+333) | Draw (+2000)

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Narratives

Joshua’s Shortcut to Undisputed

Anthony Joshua is set to defend boxing from the confirmed baddest man on the planet, Francis Ngannou. AJ’s coming off a corner stoppage win over Otto Wallins at The Day of Reckoning event on December 23. That puts his win streak to three after his two tough losses to Oleksandr Usyk. The former champ looks to be regaining any confidence he may have lost since the Ruiz upset back in 2019. If we’re being honest, Anthony hasn’t looked right since then. Maybe I’m reaching, but a spark was missing from his eyes and walk-ins, up at least until his bout with Helenius. Further, it seemed there were some strategic issues. Is he a musclehead who needs to focus on becoming a better boxer? Or is he trying too hard to be a boxer, and needs to be more aggressive and finish his opponents? It seems he’s made a decision, both. Albeit, it seems the boxing is coming a little easier than the aggression. Regardless, Joshua looks to be in great shape, moving around the ring better than he has and trusting in his boxing ability –and his power– more with each bout. Now, he’s tasked with what should be the easy task of killing the Ngannou “gimmick.” Regardless, a decisive win over Ngannou after his last bout does put AJ back in the Fury-fight conversation, which is only a conversation away from Usyk and Undisputed…

Ngannou: 0-1, and Already Won.

Enter the hype train, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou, who shut the boxing world up in a split-decision loss to the greatest heavyweight boxer of this generation, Tyson Fury. Ngannou was the +700 Underdog. Every preconception: He’s too slow, he doesn’t have the gas tank, the power won’t transfer in boxing gloves, he’ll throw the strategy out once he gets punched in the face… all of it invalid. Ngannou walked into his last bout with an unsettling confidence and stayed composed throughout the entire bout. The Cameroonian was patient early, stayed behind his jab, and worked his way in cerebrally. Although he was the shorter man, he used his lead hand as a stick to keep Tyson at bay when he would start to put his punches together. He controlled the distance early, won the lead foot fight, and was able to catch Fury, knocking him down in the third. Fury would rally to win on points, which was not the absolute robbery some fight fans think it was, but Ngannou stayed competitive for the duration of the fight. Counting the knockdown, it’s not a shock some fans and pundits were screaming “robbery!”, “fixed!”. But let’s not forget anything more than getting TKO’d early would’ve been a win for Ngannou, let alone almost winning.

The Odds

BetMGM, our preferred book for this event, has Joshua (-450) heavily favored straight up over Ngannou (-333).

A. Joshua – KO/TKO/DQ (-225) | A. Joshua – DEC (+450) | A. Joshua – Result (-500)

F. Ngannou – KO/TKO/DC (+400) | F. Ngannou – DEC (+2000) | F. Ngannou – Result (+325)

Fight Analysis & Prediction

If you follow along, you know Joshua should walk in there and box Ngannou up. Ngannou shouldn’t be able to keep up with Joshua’s movement in the ring. Joshua should be big enough to command respect from Ngannou and fast enough to counter him, breaking him down before pushing him onto his back foot with well-placed combinations. That’s how it should go until a 4th or 5th round stoppage… HOWEVER, that’s exactly what was supposed to happen last time… and things did not go according to plan. Here are the biggest factors, Ngannou’s proven he can stay composed throughout the duration of the fight and has the stamina to finish it. He fought a strategic, patient fight looking for his opportunities behind fundamental boxing. Jab, Jab-Straight, Jab, Jab, Body, Jab-Straight-Hook. He didn’t let himself get pushed too far back when pressed and fired back. Not to mention, he is currently the strongest puncher in recorded human history. AJ will have to outbox him, control his emotions when Ngannou surprises him, and avoid the hardest punch he’ll probably ever take. I’m not saying he can’t do it or won’t do it. However, he has much more to lose than Ngannou. No matter how it plays out, both these men have the power to end it in the first, but calmer heads will prevail until the mid and late rounds.

A decision is very possible, AJ hasn’t looked like the finisher of old and Ngannou may not have the toolbox to find Joshua’s chin. If it goes to decision, it’s safe to say Ngannou would have had to put on a decisive performance to get the decision over Anthony Joshua, so AJ by DEC (+450) isn’t the worst play… However, it’ll be a long 30 minutes, AJ’s button can be pressed, and if Francis found Fury’s he may just find AJ’s. Ngannou by KO (+400) is the steal of the fight and the storyline we all really want.

Our Pick: Francis Ngannou – KO/TKO/DQ (+400)

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Derek DaSIlva
Author

Derek DaSilva is a hobby fighter turned betting addict, I mean enthusiast. After a few years of figuring out he can’t compete in the sports he loved, he decided to throw his money at them. He focuses on Boxing, MMA, football, and basketball  (in that order) and his claim to betting fame is losing a 9-team parlay by half a point and a f****** yard… I’ll never forgive you Nick Chubb.

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