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Joshua vs Ngannou betting preview: AJ to wrap this one up quickly?

Royston Barney-Smith


Joshua vs Ngannou betting preview: AJ to wrap this one up quickly?

Joshua vs Ngannou betting preview: AJ to wrap this one up quickly?

Here we are again.

The last time we cast our eye over a Francis Ngannou fight, the MMA superstar was preparing to make his professional boxing against the man widely regarded as the best heavyweight on the planet, Tyson Fury.

It seemed like the simplest prediction of all time. After all, how on earth could a debutant trouble the lineal and WBC heavyweight champion of the world? Behind all the hype and media attention it seemed extremely obvious what was going to happen. Fury would win when and how he chose.

How wrong could we be?

Well, Ngannou is ready to do it all again. On Friday night he takes on two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia; it promises to be a thrilling shootout. For the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.

Ngannou was sensational last October. He dropped Fury and came within inches of pulling off the greatest shock in the history of the sport. The fight was in the balance until the very end; many believed Fury was fortunate to escape with a split decision victory.

Ngannou is a mountain of a man

Joshua vs Ngannou

Those who did go out on a limb and predict that Ngannou would shock the world and beat Fury assumed he would do it by letting those big hands go and stunning ‘The Gypsy King’ early in the fight.

The fact that he was able to box on equal terms with Fury was – in some ways – an even more shocking outcome than had he shot out of his corner and clipped Fury during a wild exchange. Ngannou is a mountain of a man with extremely heavy hands. But the idea of him standing in front of Fury and timing him with a jab was the least likely outcome imaginable. In fact, it is still bizarre almost five months later.

Ngannou deserves a tonne of credit for his performance. He was relaxed, alert and didn’t panic for a single second. He displayed remarkable stamina for a man making his professional boxing debut and wasn’t fazed in the slightest by Fury’s unique aura or the prospect of the biggest night of his life – a moment Ngannou had dreamed about – turning into a disaster with the entire world watching.

Ngannou may have lost an unpopular split decision but he was the undoubted winner of the night. He left Saudi Arabia having lost his professional debut but as the most talked about heavyweight in the world. If you fancy Ngannou to go one better this time and earn a decision on the scorecards, it is priced at 16/1.

In a move that shows just how new to the sport of boxing Ngannou is, he hasn’t rested on his laurels. After taking on one of the most technical fighters around, he has jumped directly into a fight with the most explosive heavyweight on the planet.

Joshua is unlikely to take his eye off the ball

Joshua vs Ngannou

Joshua looks to be a fighter reborn. He has improved in each of his three fights since losing for a second time to Oleksandr Usyk in August 2022. He got his feet back under the table by outpointing Jermaine Franklin last April, knocked out Robert Helenius in August and then dominated Otto Wallin in December, beating up the Swede and forcing him to retire after five rounds.

Joshua has flitted between trainers over the last few years as he sought to reinvent himself. But he looked to have remembered exactly who he is since linking up with Ben Davison.

Joshua may not be a master boxer but he is also far more than the explosive, vulnerable bomber many like to paint him as. The 34-year-old is an Olympic gold medalist and more than talented enough to outbox the vast majority of top heavyweights. When he senses weakness, he also possesses the firepower and ferocity to knock out anybody.

A confident, focused and happy Joshua is a serious prospect for any heavyweight on the planet, let alone a fighter making only their second professional start. Joshua is also extremely unlikely to take his eye off the ball as Fury clearly did. Fury may have trained every day but if he was doing so without any fear of the fighter he was preparing for, the work will have lacked any sharpness.

Joshua won’t make that mistake. He is always ultra professional in his preparation. And he now has the benefit of knowing exactly what Ngannou is capable of.

Joshua also seems to have developed an edge in recent months. He would love to do what Fury should have done and take Ngannou out in clinical fashion. A first round victory for Joshua is priced at 20/1.

A knockout may come very quickly

Joshua vs Ngannou

And – without repeating the same mistakes most made in October – that seems like the most likely outcome on March 8th.

As good as Ngannou was against Fury, he is still a pretty basic heavyweight. Joshua should be able to figure him out pretty quickly . Fury is a 6ft 9in tall giant who had the strength and power to stop Deontay Wilder but Ngannou seemed to have little fear of Fury’s one shot power. He can’t afford to take those same risks against Joshua. The consequences for a single mistake are likely to be much more severe this time around and although Ngannou did a good job of defending against Fury’s sporadic attacks and single shots, he has no experience of defending against an explosive combination puncher like Joshua.

Ngannou does have a ray of light or two. He has the power to knock Joshua out and he won’t be afraid of letting his hands go. We have seen Joshua get hurt during exchanges in the past and Andy Ruiz stopped him with confident combination punching. Ngannou is sure to gamble. He may also benefit from dragging Joshua into a mauling, ugly fight and using his strength and grappling ability to tire the Londoner out. An Ngannou knockout is available at 17/5.

Joshua won’t take any unnecessary risks but should be assertive, confident and force Ngannou onto the back foot. If he can establish his jab, expect him to quickly put some heavy artillery behind it. Joshua’s body work has also improved recently and Ngannou is likely to be susceptible to the body.

The prediction is for Joshua to score a conclusive knockout. It may come very quickly but it looks likely to happen before the halfway stage. Joshua to win by knockout between rounds 3-4 is priced at 13/2.

To see all our latest boxing markets, check out 32Red Sport here. If you’re up for a flutter on table games or the slots, be sure to check out our award-winning casino too!

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