Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou, A Showdown For The Ages

Anthony Joshua versus Francis Ngannou is a showdown for the ages

Dubbed 'Knockout Chaos', the clash between these two heavyweight icons is a mouthwatering prospect for boxing fans. Here's what to expect from one of the most intriguing bouts of the the year.

IT’S RARE WE know a boxing bout will be history making before the bell even rings. Before the fighters are slumped in their corners in those championship rounds, ice packs slapped on necks, cut-men smearing vaseline on open wounds, while a coach pleads for one last effort. Forgive me if I’m painting a very ‘Rocky-esque’ picture here, but as a fan of the boxing, these are the moments we crave. It’s hard not to let the imagination run wild as this weekend two titans of combat sport come toe-to-toe in Saudi Arabia.

In a heavyweight clash for the ages, former world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will meet the new kid on the boxing block, former UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou. To be fair, the Cameroonian-Frenchman is not so much a ‘kid’  as he is a hulking 120 kg-plus wrecking machine. 

In a fight dubbed ‘Knockout Chaos, ‘AJ’ and Ngannou both embody what it means to be a heavyweight boxer, possessing brute strength and devastating power. Like heavyweights who’ve come before them—Iron Mike Tyson, Big George Foreman, even Jack, the ‘Manassa Mauler’ Dempsey— these two are dangerous men, menacing in their approach. Both Joshua and Ngannou carry the frightening flag and both ply their trade with utter ferocity. This weekend’s fight is one you do not want to miss. 

Ngannou enters the boxing world again

Francis Ngannou, the former MMA superstar, continues to make waves in the world of boxing. In 2023, he made his boxing debut against current heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and even managed to score a knockdown. Despite losing the closely contested bout by a split decision, Ngannou proved that he was more than just an MMA fighter dabbling in the boxing ring. 


Instagram | @francisngannou


His athleticism and punching power translated seamlessly to the sweet science, leaving fans and experts alike impressed. For those who may not be familiar with Ngannou’s work, a quick glance at his highlight reel from the UFC is highly recommended. It becomes easier to see why Ngannou is known for his explosive aggression and one-punch knockout power. The 37-year-old was putting heavyweight legends like Alistair Overeem to sleep with the kind of vicious uppercuts we may never see again inside the Octagon. 

Ngannou’s dominance continued as he went on to capture the UFC heavyweight title by defeating Stipe Miocic in March 2021.  Sadly, for UFC fans, Ngannou couldn’t come to a contract agreement with the UFC, a stumbling block that ultimately saw the champion exit the sport. Which lead us to now, a rogue ex-UFC heavyweight champion taking on boxing’s best of the best. 


Instagram | @francisngannou


Ngannou’s name is almost synonymous with power at this point. While he may not have the polished boxing technique of some of his peers, Ngannou more than makes up for it with his physicality, fight IQ, and unwavering determination. He has a unique way of remaining calm under pressure in the boxing ring, as demonstrated in his fight against Fury. Had it not been for Fury’s ability to box intelligently and show remarkable survival instincts, it’s likely that Ngannou would have emerged victorious. 

Anthony Joshua’s reclaims form, just in time

It’s difficult to imagine anyone willingly stepping into the ring with Ngannou, let alone coming close to challenging his knockout power. That’s where Anthony Joshua enters the chat. ‘AJ’ is one of England’s favourite boxing sons, a fighter who loves the limelight. 


Instagram | @anthonyjoshua


Joshua is a former unified heavyweight champion, holding the WBO, WBA, and IBF titles. At 34 years of age, he’s fought 30 total fights, boasting an impressive record of 27-3, including 24 knockouts. Joshua seemed unstoppable after his epic victory over the legendary Wladimir Klitschko in 2017. It wasn’t until his career took a hit with a shocking loss to a 25-1 underdog, Andy Ruiz, in 2019 that cracks began to emerge. After six months, Joshua regained the belts from Ruiz. Still, he suffered successive losses to Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and 2022, again halting his career. It was clear that the psychological impact of losing took a toll on the former champ.

Many believed Joshua had lost his touch and looked lost in the ring after his loss to Usyk. However, the Brit demonstrated his resilience, focusing on developing his craft, defence, and striking. He has since won his last three fights against Jermaine Franklin, Robert Helenius, and Otto Wallin, climbing the mountain again in true Joshua style.


Instagram | @anthonyjoshua


A physical specimen with immense punching power, Joshua’s true strength lies in his skill, his ability to move around the ring with grace and let his hands go with impeccable timing. With his determination to improve his impressive record, Joshua undoubtedly proves the next best challenge for Ngannou after Fury. 

How the fight will play out

Tyson Fury was expected to wipe the floor with Ngannou and we all know how that went. While respecting the power, Fury ultimately underestimated the Cameroonian’s ability. Only just managing to avoid an upset in the crossover bout in Riyadh, Fury was forced to climb off the canvas in the third round before sealing a contentious split-decision victory.

Francis Ngannou to win

For Ngannou to beat Joshua, he needs to close the distance and do what he does best: punch hard. Joshua doesn’t bob and weave quite like Fury; AJ will keep his movement more methodical, his jabs more probing while trying to keep out of range of Ngannou’s devastating right hand. If Ngannou can rattle Joshua early, like he did Fury, scoring a knockdown or a big shot, Joshua probably doesn’t possess the survival instincts to rally and get back in the fight. It will be all-out offence for Ngannou, who will let the power of his fists do the talking. 

Anthony Joshua to win

For Joshua, even though he is the betting favourite, with vastly more experience, winning Saturday’s fight is more complex. It will be a constant matter of keeping Ngannou at bay, and at arm’s length at all times. Poking out the jab when Ngannou gets defensively complacent will be a must. Joshua needs to land his own big shots off the back of his feints; hitting and moving. Keeping the fight moving will be the best way for AJ to walk out with the win. 

It’s rare that two fighters enter a contest with both possessing the potential to win in spectacular ways. Even if we make predictions and speculate, once the bell rings, anything can happen. This Saturday, we’ll witness an unstoppable force clash with an immovable object. Who knows which fighter will embody which part of the saying. One thing is sure: the outcome is going to be of seismic proportions.



How to watch Ngannou v Joshua

The preliminary card is expected to get underway at 3 am (AEDT) on Saturday, with the main card starting at around 5 am, while Joshua and Ngannou are expected to make their ring walks at around 9:50 am. You can watch a Joshua vs Ngannou live stream with Main Event on Kayo.


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