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Knockout Chaos: Joshua vs Ngannou - Mar 8 🇸🇦🥊


wandshogun09

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This is nearly upon us. A rare Friday fight night. There’s been a bit of chatter about this show in the General Boxing thread over the last day or so but I think this deserves its own thread, doesn’t it?

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SKY BOX OFFICE/DAZN PPV
Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou 

Zhilei Zhang vs Joseph Parker - WBO Interim Heavyweight Title 

Rey Vargas vs Nick Ball - WBC Featherweight Title 

Israil Madrimov vs Magomed Kurbanov - Vacant WBA Super-Welterweight Title 

Mark Chamberlain vs Gavin Gwynne 

Justis Huni vs Kevin Lerena 

Louie Greene vs Jack McGann 

Ziyad Almaayouf vs Christian Lopez Flores 

Andrii Novytskyi vs Juan Torres 

Roman Fury vs Martin Svarc 

 

That’s the card as I type this just over a week out from the show. Not bad at all that. I’m not gonna go into everything in detail but it’s definitely not a one match show. Zhang vs Parker especially is a fantastic co-main event. Really looking forward to that one, almost as much as the headliner in some ways.

 

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This is where the road to this fight began. It’s still almost surreal that it even happened but Francis Ngannou made his pro boxing debut back in October…against Tyson Fury. A man having his first professional boxing fight vs the man widely regarded as the best Heavyweight of this generation. The fight was talked about to death at the time but I was firmly in the majority that were fully expecting Ngannou to get spanked. I gave him no more than a punchers chance and I didn’t even think he had much of one against a big, awkward, crafty, slippery and experienced big lump like Fury. I just couldn’t see past an ugly, messy fight and Ngannou getting throughly outclassed.

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Wrong.

Ngannou put Fury on his arse in the third round, which was a bit of a surprise but not massively so. Everyone knew Ngannou was a heavy hitter and would be most lethal in the early stages of the fight. I vividly remember seeing the knockdown and thinking ‘well, fair fucks, Francis has surpassed everyone’s expectations. Moral victory’. I absolutely thought he’d peaked in the fight at that point, it was all downhill from there. I expected Fury to get up like he always does, Ngannou would fade as the fight went on, and Fury would box rings around him for the remainder. That knockdown was as good as the night was gonna get for Ngannou in my eyes. Then I watched as the rounds went by, they went the distance and Ngannou more than held his own. To the point a fair old chunk of the viewing audience felt Ngannou had won when it was over. In the end, Fury walked away with a split decision win. But Ngannou fought so well. Him and his team had clearly done their homework on Fury and the things Fury likes to do, his comfort zones, like leaning on opponents and making it messy, Ngannou was ready for and physically strong enough to handle in a way no previous Fury opponent was.

You know it was a fantastic performance when even Dana White couldn’t find a way to shit on it…

“The fact that he went 10 rounds with Tyson Fury is crazy. He just went 10 rounds with Tyson Fury. Conor made it 9 or 10 with Floyd, Anthony Pettis just beat Roy Jones Jr - I know Roy is friggin’ 60 years old or whatever but I don’t know what the hell is going on. It’s crazy. I didn’t see the fight but the fact that he went 10 rounds is unbelievable.” - Dana White

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“I didn’t see the fight”. Yeah right. Course you didn’t. You just know if Tyson had twatted Ngannou or completely schooled him like we all expected, Dana would’ve been the first and loudest to publicly gloat about it. He was watching every second. And seething. Ngannou left him literally fuck all to criticise.

In every way other than the official decison, it’s impossible to not look at the whole thing as anything but a win for Ngannou. He got to fulfil a lifelong dream of boxing professionally, at the very highest level and on the biggest stage possible. He made by far the biggest payday of his entire career. He surpassed all expectations in his performance in the fight itself. And as a result, bagged another monster matchup for his second pro fight… 

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Anthony Joshua’s been steadily rebuilding since the back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk in 2021/22. It’s been an up and down few years for AJ. He’d been here before, having to build himself back up from the Andy Ruiz clobbering and all the drama and criticism in the fallout. Those Usyk losses really seemed to do a number on him though, maybe mentally more than anything. And I think his last 3 fights have all been about regaining that confidence more than anything. He beat Jermaine Franklin on points, knocked out Robert Helenius and, in his last fight in December, he bashed up Otto Wallin to the point his corner were forced to pull him out. Each performance was a little bit better than the last and I thought the win over Wallin really felt like he’d turned a corner. Thought it was the best he’d looked in a long time.

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Battered him. Of course, that was the big ‘Day Of Reckoning’ show in December. The card that also featured Deontay Wilder vs Joseph Parker. A card that was supposed to finally set up the long awaited clash of AJ vs Wilder. But Parker fucked things up big time by beating Wilder. Plans went up in smoke and in the immediate aftermath of the Wallin dismantling, all signs seemed to be pointing towards an AJ vs Hrgovic fight. But then in early January it was announced.

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AJ vs Ngannou is on!

Gotta say, feels like deja vu but I’m expecting Ngannou to lose clearly here. I know it smacks of excuses and Ngannou absolutely deserves full credit for his performance against Fury, but whether anyone wants to admit it or not, there had to have been some level of Fury underestimating Ngannou going into that fight. I didn’t buy all the “he looked out of shape” stuff because that’s Fury. He never looks in great shape. But he had a long training camp and even if he trained his arse off and put 100% effort in, even if he actively tried not to take Ngannou lightly…nobody truly knew how Ngannou was gonna look on the night. There was no tape to study of him actually boxing. It’s why when people criticise the boxing in MMA, it’s not comparing apples to apples. MMA boxing looks different, and uglier, because it kind of has to be when you’re throwing kicks, knees, elbows, grappling, fighting bare foot etc into the mix. Granted, most MMA fighters aren’t making the transition to boxing smoothly, especially at fucking 36/37 years old like Ngannou. But you can’t always tell how a MMA fighter is gonna do in boxing by watching him in MMA. You have to strike differently in both. Offensively, defensively, posture, stance, the lot.

But yeah, AJ should be winning. The advantage he’s got that Fury didn’t is he kind of knows what he’s up against. He knows Ngannou isn’t just some dumb slugger coming to throw a Hail Mary. He knows Ngannou isn’t just in it for the paycheque. He knows Ngannou is serious and legitimately putting the graft in. These are all intangibles that none of us truly knew going into that Fury fight. I’ll admit, there were times going into that one where I felt like Ngannou was almost happy just to be there. I obviously misread that and he was just so calm and quietly confident in the work he’d put in. He showed a lot against Fury. He’s a much smarter fighter than anyone gave him credit for. But he’s probably not gonna approach a fight with Joshua the same way he did Fury. Completely different styles. While Fury’s durability is legendary and Ngannou clearly respected that and prepared for it, I can see him fancying bombing AJ out. I can see him being more aggressive here and that could either go well for him or AJ might completely embarrass him. Regardless it’s an interesting one.

Anyway…the info;

• It’s gonna air on both Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN PPV as far as I can tell. And if you’re a law breaking hooligan…by other means.

• Undercard is expected to be around 7pm UK time from what I’m reading. Main event ring walks supposedly around 11pm but you know how that goes.

• Oh and a reminder, ***this is on the FRIDAY*** because of the Saudi Grand Prix or some bollocks.

THE promo;

Face Off sitdown interview; 

KNOCKOUT CHAOS! 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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cracking wand. 

I'm trying to think logically and not get caught up in any hype regarding the main event and im predicting Joshua gets it done around the halfway stage, especially considering the form Joshua appears to be in.

The plan is to get home from work and watch everything from Huni/Lerena onward. Don't sleep on Ball/Vargas, that's gonna be a cracker.

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I too fancy AJ to get it done, I'm not fully counting Ngannou out though, fury underperformed terribly with him but there is no doubt ngannou is better than he let's on boxing wise. He's strong as a bull aswell, but I do feel confident in an emphatic joshua KO. 

Yup ball/vargas will be brilliant.

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I meant to mention it in the opening post but one of the more interesting things about this fight to me is how AJ deals with Ngannou’s size and strength. Without being arsed to go back through AJ’s record, I can’t remember him facing anyone that’s a bigger and more physical force than him to the extent Ngannou’s gonna be. 

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Strength can be downplayed in boxing to a certain degree, athletic, sports spefic strength can reap huge rewards, in any sport, but in boxing it gets dismissed a fair bit imo, and Ngannou is very well rounded in the strength department. 

I think you could be right daz, Joshua could well walk through him, but I believe the quicker he does this the better. Joshua physically is a daunting opponent, and while not the most powerful one hit quit puncher there is, he puts his shots together extremely well. This is where Joshua needs to go to work, and fast, I'd like to see no hanging back from him, imposing his will, and combos from fairly early on, enough to say to Ngannou you're in my ring here.

Reason I say this as Joshua, it is fair to say, from a while the fight is happening standpoint can appear quite fragile mentally. Joshua isn't afraid of a challenge, his resume tells us that, but while he's in there there is definitely some doubts that he has that holds him back, If he let's Ngannou rough him up, and he feels how strong he is and starts thinking about taking shots from him I honestly thing Joshua may go within himself a bit and become a bit gunshy as he does at times, I feel he will give ngannou a bit too much respect. 

He needs to not pressurise himself too much, not worry about being a masterful boxer, which isn't where his strengths lie, he needs to get in ngannous personal space and put it on him from Bell to bell and I feel this is where victory is for him

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1 hour ago, wandshogun09 said:

I meant to mention it in the opening post but one of the more interesting things about this fight to me is how AJ deals with Ngannou’s size and strength. Without being arsed to go back through AJ’s record, I can’t remember him facing anyone that’s a bigger and more physical force than him to the extent Ngannou’s gonna be. 

Wlad maybe? He was never really a physical force though, he tied up a lot but that was usually to negate action. Id imagine Ngannou would look to push AJ about in the clinch.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah Wlad would be the biggest but even then, AJ weighed in 10lbs heavier than him for their fight and, looking back at old articles, Wlad apparently came in lighter for that fight than he’d been in about 8 years. 

And looking at their last fights, AJ weighed in at 251lbs vs Wallin. Ngannou was 272lbs vs Fury. Height and reach are similar but yeah, Ngannou’s brute force and strength in clinch positions is not something AJ’s gonna be used to.

Still see Joshua stopping him but it could get rough for him in close. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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I remember when Fury fought Ngannou, I figured he had two ways to win. The first is a punchers chance, the second is Fury fucking about and not taking it seriously. He's notorious for fighting to the level of his opponents, so I knew that would be a possibility, and it turned out to be the case, even if he did squeak over the line.

I don't see Joshua having the latter issue. He always takes his fights seriously, and this will be no different, especially after he saw how Ngannou did against Fury. 

What I would say is that I think if Ngannou lands on Joshua like he did Fury he could stop him. Joshua doesn't have the chin or recovery powers Fury does, and that's what makes this interesting. I see it being more clear-cut than the Fury fight, with either Ngannou stopping Joshua in the first four rounds, or Joshua stopping Ngannou later or winning via decision.

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100% with the recovery powers. Joshua actually doesn't have as bad of a chin as some make out, but he doesn't have a great chin and the recovery powers as mentioned aren't great. He sort of 'stays hit' and then boxes in a way where you can see he is wary of letting his hands go.

That's sort of what I meant earlier when I said if he feels the raw strength of Ngannou early on he may well focus too much on what will happen if he manages to land clean.

Interesting for these reasons, I do see Joshua winning but Ngannou is dedicated, strong and can whack so anything can happen really. 

Edited by NeverYield
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I'd also say that while Ngannou looked great against Fury, I don't think that's as much a reflection on him being a really good boxer as it is of Fury being unprofessional. He's notorious for that shit. Look at the shape he was in for Ngannou, then look at him before the Usyk fight was postponed. Night and day. He fights to the level of his opponent, which is frustrating. 

His fights with Pianeta (I know he claimed afterwards that he didn't want the finish, but still) and Wallin are examples of him fighting to the level of his opponent and to the level of the event. 

I fully expect Joshua to win unless Ngannou lands big. 

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I think Joshua will have seen enough in Ngannou's first ever professional fight to stay away, use his jab and if he ends and up getting too close, hold and tie up best he can. Ngannou to his credit has made it big time, taking the 2nd best heavyweight arguably on the planet to points and losing in a close Split decision(that I felt like he won) I have to go with Joshua via decision.

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