Anthony Joshua favorite to beat Francis Ngannou

Anthony Joshua favorite to beat Francis Ngannou

The biggest heavyweight fight of the year so far is set for Saudi Arabia this week as former 2x world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua takes on former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.

Joshua is coming off the back of a big stoppage win over Otto Wallin in Saudi Arabia back in December, while Ngannou returns to the ring for the first time since a controversial defeat to Tyson Fury in October.

We'll take a look at the matchup and provide you with our best free boxing betting picks to see if we can earn you some extra cash while you enjoy the action.

Anthony Joshua-370-370-360
Francis Ngannou+300+270+285

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Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou information

  • Friday, March 8th 2024
  • Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Heavyweight
  • 10 x 3 minute rounds
  • Title eliminator bout

Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou odds

  • Anthony Joshua - (-360)
  • Francis Ngannou - (+300)

Joshua comes into this fight as a two-time world heavyweight champion, with a professional record of 27-3 including 24 wins by knockout.

He won his first world title back in 2016 with a knockout win over Charles Martin claim the IBF strap, before eventually clashing with long-time champion Wladimir Klitschko and earning a late knockout win to win the WBC and IBO belts. He then defeated Joseph Parker to win the WBO title, before a win over Alexander Povetkin moved him to 22-0.

He then suffered a stunning defeat against Andy Ruiz Jr in his next fight to lose all the belts, but won them back immediately in his next bout with a unanimous decision win. He defended them with a knockout win over Kubrat Pulev in his next fight.

But then he came up against Oleksandr Usyk and was out-boxed in back-to-back bouts as he fell to consecutive defeats and lost his titles. Since then though he has claimed three consecutive wins, with a unanimous decision win over Jermaine Franklin before knocking out Robert Helenius and Otto Wallin most recently.

"AJ" comes into this fight as a big favorite at odds of -360, meaning you must stake $360 to earn a $100 profit.

On the other side of the ring will be Ngannou, a mixed-martial-arts world champion with the most powerful punch ever recorded according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Prior to leaving the UFC due to a contract dispute, Ngannou was on a six-fight win streak with five of those coming via knockout. He defeated Curtis Blaydes, Junior Dos Santos, Cain Velasquez and Jairzinho Rozenstruik to earn a second title shot, before knocking out Stipe Miocic to win the belt.

He then successfully defended the title against former teammate Ciryl Gane in a unanimous decision, before leaving the company.

In his first ever professional boxing bout he took on the lineal world heavyweight champion of the world Tyson Fury, and earned a huge knockdown during the fight that went the distance. Many believed he did enough to earn the decision, although Fury claimed a split decision on the cards on the night officially.

Ngannou is an underdog coming into this fight with odds of +300, meaning you can earn $300 for every $100 you stake.

Francis Ngannou to beat Anthony Joshua

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Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou preview

Both Joshua and Ngannou are most known for their fantastic power in the punches they throw, while Ngannou really shocked the world with his performance against Fury.

Considering "The Gypsy King" is known as one of the best technical boxers in the heavyweight division, he did well to not get hit too much while his jab landed cleanly and often which is something that Joshua will have to be very cautious of.

However Joshua is not someone who is scared to stand in the centre of the ring and trade shots, while he is technically underrated too when it comes to his jab, his defense and his counter-striking. He will be looking to dictate the pace of the fight from the middle, while threatening with his big right hand in the process.

Ngannou arguably has the speed advantage and is probably the first fighter that Joshua has fought that is more explosive than he is, which will take a lot of adapting for him. If Ngannou wants to win he has to try and engage AJ in a gun-fight and look to land one of his heavy overhands.

Joshua has also been known to gas in the later rounds if the pace gets pushed, although this is only a 10 round fight rather than his usual 12 rounds.

Boxing Picks: Anthony Joshua to get it done

Most people in the boxing world predicted Tyson Fury to absolutely flatten Ngannou and make an example of him, and were stunned when that didn't take place.

That has led to a lot of revisionism when it comes to this fight, because Joshua's stock among most casuals has dropped after his shock defeat to Andy Ruiz and then subsequent losses against the smaller Usyk.

But Joshua is in fantastic shape as always and in the prime of his career. He knows that while this is a fight where he is expected to win and put on a show in the process, it's also his best route back to a title shot and highly anticipated fight with Fury in an undisputed title showdown.

The Brit will look to show his boxing skill with good jabs and movement, and with less rounds to work a dominant decision win for the natural boxer seems like the route to go with the betting considering Ngannou has never been finished before in his combat sports career.

Anthony Joshua via Decision to beat Francis Ngannou