Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou odds and prediction

Everything you need to know about the huge heavyweight boxing fight between Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou.

Knockout Chaos - Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou: Press Conference
Knockout Chaos - Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou: Press Conference / Richard Pelham/GettyImages

MMA superstar Francis Ngannou continues his foray into boxing on March 8 when he battles former two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Ngannou took the combat sports world by storm in 2023 when he held his own and even scored a knockdown against current heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Despite losing by a split decision, Ngannou proved he was more than just an MMA fighter looking to make a quick buck in boxing. Ngannou's athleticism and power translated seamlessly to the sweet science.

Joshua rebounded nicely after losing consecutive bouts and his heavyweight title to Oleksandr Usyk. He captured three wins in 2023 and displayed a re-tooled skillset. Joshua showed he was as powerful and precise as ever, collecting stoppages over Robert Helenius and Otto Wallin.

DraftKings lists Joshua as a huge (-400) favorite over Ngannou at (+300). Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Joshua is the more experienced and well-rounded boxer. Joshua has the Olympic gold medal and heavyweight title belts to his name. He is long and technical, capable of working behind his jab and stringing together heavy knockout-inducing combinations while keeping opponents at bay. He is as skillful a heavyweight as there has been in recent history.

Things like this don't matter to Ngannou. He made his fight with the bigger, more experienced, and heavily favored Fury closer than it had any right being. Ngannou's raw athleticism, chin, and ungodly punching power give pause to even the most seasoned fighters.

Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou could end differently than the oddsmakers are predicting

Joshua must build on his recent success, stick his jab, and keep Francis at a distance. He risks getting knocked out every second he strays from this game plan. Getting into a groove, controlling range, and disallowing Ngannou to gain any momentum is his path to victory. Joshua must be perfect for 10 rounds.

Given the fact Joshua is susceptible to heavy punches, he has a thin margin for error. Getting in the pocket with Ngannou will not serve him.

Exploiting Ngannou's aversion to head movement could allow Joshua to string together combinations and wear Ngannou down.

Ngannou's history of leveling up between performances may lead to an entirely upgraded version showing up on fight night. Valuable experience and confidence were earned after boxing Fury. Ngannou's previous strengths were his MMA-influenced clinch game and unorthodox approach. He took Fury's best punches without issue and went 10 rounds.

Power and Ngannou are almost simultaneous terms at this point. And though he may not be the smoothest boxer, Ngannou makes up for it in physicality, fight IQ, and determination.

This fight's intangible factor is mindset.

Joshua has a lot riding on this match. His spot as a potential opponent for the winner of Usyk and Fury, his boxing reputation, and his legacy are at stake. Comparatively, Ngannou has little to lose. He's made it further than expected.

Ngannou has battled doubters. He adapts when things aren't working. Ngannou can dig deep and keep pushing. Joshua's heart has been called into question. He got discouraged when he was in a tougher battle than expected when first fighting Andy Ruiz Jr. Joshua's chin is also suspect.

All Ngannou needs is one punch. His unique style, and ability to prod forward, counter, and wear Joshua down in the clinch are key. Both men can shut the other's lights out. If Joshua stays composed and avoids slugging with Ngannou, he can win.

Ngannou doesn't need to be technical. However, If he bullies his way into the pocket and dictates the exchanges, he can beat Joshua.

Prediction: Ngannou by fourth-round knockout


Next. 5 of the best boxing fights of all time. 5 of the best boxing fights of all time. dark