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Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou: Profile, Stats, Free Bets & Betting Offers

bet365It is fair to say that it’s been an interest couple of years for Anthony Joshua. The moment that he lost to Andy Ruiz Jr., the respect for AJ in the heavyweight world all but disappeared. Yes, he got his title back by defeating him a few months later, but two losses in succession to Oleksandr Usyk meant that his stock had well and truly fallen.

He defeated both Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius in quick success, with the plan being for him to take on Deontay Wilder after that. Instead, he fought Otto Wallin in Saudi Arabia in the December of 2023, earning the money from the sports-washing regime as he tried to restore his reputation.

The desire of many was still to see Joshua go up against a genuine heavyweight talent to see if he can make any claim to still being a top fighter, but when the bout against Wilder fell apart it was always going to be a struggle for him to find someone to take on that would be worthy of the name. It isn’t just AJ who is struggling, of course. Tyson Fury and Usyk are due to get into the ring with one another but that hasn’t happened yet and in the months that fight was trying to be organised, Fury got into a fight with the likes of Derek Chisora and the man that AJ is planning to fight next, Francis Ngannou, rather than Usyk.

For AJ, the chance to restore his reputation is crucial, given the fact that someone will be wanting to face the winner of the fight if Usyk and the Gypsy King genuinely do manage to get into the ring with one another. Whether taking on Ngannou is the way to do that remains to be seen, but many felt that the former Ultimate Fighting Championship star should’ve been declared the winner of the fight that he had with Tyson Fury, only for the judges to decide otherwise. The risk, of course, is that Joshua isn’t quite as fortunate as the Gypsy King, at which point his career will effectively be all over bar the shouting.

The exceptional punch power of AJ means he has managed 24 knockouts in 27 wins, with now three defeats.  Although the losses were big ones, stripping him the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles, AJ now has his sights set on getting the WBC belt eventually that has eluded him before then potentially trying to become the first undisputed world champion since Lennox Lewis.

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AJ vs Ngannou Fight Details

Date & Time (UK) Where Weight Title TV
8th March 2024 (~22:30) Saudi Arabia Heavyweight DAZN

heavyweight boxer looks like anthony joshua

Anthony Joshua was gearing up to face Deontay Wilder next on his road to recovery, but when the Bronze Bomber lost to Joseph Parker on the same night that AJ defeated Otto Wallin, the decision was taken to pivot to a different direction. That direction is to fight Francis Ngannou, with the fight scheduled to take place on the eight of March 2024. There is no question that many in the boxing world will want Joshua and Tyson Fury to get into the ring together before they’re both too old for the fight to mean much of anything, but if that’s going to happen then AJ will need to ensure that his reputation is all but restored.

In some senses, this fight is a bit of a lose-lose for Joshua. On the one hand, he is all but expected to defeated someone who isn’t a professional boxer, so if he does then the entire world will issue a collective shrug of the shoulders over the matter. If he loses, however, then his reputation will be in tatters and it will be all but impossible for him to get a shot at re-gaining his title, irrespective of who it is that wins between Usyk and the Gypsy King. The reality is that a fight between AJ and Fury would be worth huge sums of money, so the entire boxing world will be wary of putting that at any risk of not happening.

That means that Joshua is studiously avoiding getting into the ring with Zhilei Zhang, for example, because there is a real chance that he might lose that fight and that would ruin the big-money bout that everyone thinks must be on the cards at some point in the not too distant future between two of the biggest British fighters in the sport today. Zhang is the interim WBO heavyweight champion, but the fight between Joshua and Ngannou is much more likely to be commercially successful. It can bring casual viewers to the sport, which is really important for boxing as a whole. It is a risky fight for AJ to take on Ngannou, but it could position him well for the future.

What Are They Fighting For?

various boxing images

When it comes to what is on the line, the simple answer is that nothing is. Anthony Joshua held the Super version of the World Boxing Association title, the International Boxing Federation and the World Boxing Organisation titles twice between 2016 and 2021, as well as the International Boxing Organisation title twice during the same period. When he lost in back-to-back fights against to Oleksandr Usyk, however, it became evident that his time in the upper echelons of boxing was all but over. He has nothing to put on the line for this bout, whilst the fact that Francis Ngannou has only had one professional boxing match means he doesn’t either.

That being said, both fighters are looking for something to further their careers and a win here might just present an opportunity for exactly that. The former UFC champion Ngannou is looking to get a few more professional boxing fights under his belt, targeting Deontay Wilder in particular. When Wilder lost comprehensively to Joseph Parker at the end of December 2023, Ngannou declared that he needed to ‘get it together’ as he’d like to fight him in the future. We know that AJ has also had plans to fight the Bronze Bomber, so it is looking likely that the winner of this bout is more likely to have Wilder lined up than a title fight.

Reputations matter, of course, and Joshua’s will take one hell of a hit, no pun intended, if he fails to defeat Ngannou. For his part, Ngannou has all but turned his back on the world of Mixed Martial Arts, becoming a heavyweight champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship when he knocked out Stipe Miocic before defeating Ciryl Gane in 2022 in order to defend his title. The split from the sport was acrimonious for the 37-year-old, so he knows that he will have to get a few big-money boxing matches under his belt before his time in the ring is over for good. The fight in Saudi Arabia will provide him with the perfect opportunity to do just that.

If AJ wins this fight then it will do very little to improve his reputation, whilst if Ngannou does then his standing within the sport, following on the back of how well he performed against Tyson Fury, will shoot up. There isn’t much being fought over in a literal sense for Joshua and Ngannou, but there is plenty on the line in terms of how much money they might be able to earn in the future and what fights might come their way next. There is reportedly a promise that the winner will get a fight against the winner of Fury versus Usyk, but the manner in which boxing has been the last few years means that that might be wishful thinking.

What The Experts Think

boxing gloves impactingIt would be unfair to say that Francis Ngannou has the reputation of boxing on his shoulders, but there is definitely an extent to which a lot of people have lost faith in the sport over recent years. We should be seeing the likes of AJ, Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk and Zhilei Zhang going up against one another, with names like Jared Anderson, Martin Bakole and Filip Hrgovic becoming part of the conversation. Instead, we’ve seen the heavyweights take on much lesser fighters and even people from other sports or YouTube sensations getting involved in bit money fights that run the risk of making boxing a bit of a laughing stock.

The fact that Ngannou was quietly quite impressive against Tyson Fury when the two faced each other in a non-title fight last year meant that the reputation of the sport was at least mildly recovered. It also means that some of the professionals, who had that fight down as a complete walkover for the Gypsy King, are now looking at Ngannou with fresh eyes. Kalle Sauerland, the promoter for Wasserman Boxing, confessed that he was surprised by Ngannou in his first professional fight, “Nothing is clear cut when you’ve got two men who can really punch in the ring together. I think the first four rounds will be a shootout.”

He continued, “I think AJ gets him in the seventh or eighth round and the fight will be very exciting in the first three rounds. I think Ngannou is going to have issues stamina wise if the first three rounds are physical, that’s different to MMA. He’s shown he can box, I have no qualms with people putting him in the top 10.”

That shout that Ngannou might struggle for stamina is an interesting one, with the former UFC fighter having put Fury down a couple of times early on in their fight to throw pre-fight predictions right out of the window. In the end, it went all the way and Fury was declared the winner in controversial circumstances.

Adam Catterall, the host for TalkSport, feels that the outcome of the fight will likely depend on which Anthony Joshua turns up. He said, “If the Anthony Joshua that turned up against Otto Wallin on December 23rd turns up on March eighth against Francis Ngannou, he will beat him. Therefore, that creates momentum pushing us forward towards a super-fight that we’ve all been dreaming about at the end of the year. Because what will happen is that AJ will beat Ngannou on March eighth, he will then propel himself into a summer showdown with Filip Hrgovic for a vacant IBF world title, he will win that.”

According to Catterall’s logic, that would mean that the winner of the fight between Fury and Usyk will have three of the heavyweight belts and AJ will have the other one. He said, “Do you want to do another undisputed fight at the end of the year? If it’s Tyson Fury, the man that he wants, that is holding the belts, him versus Anthony Joshua all of a sudden becomes the biggest fight of a generation. That is how this is going to play out, that is how I think this now navigates itself.”

In other words, Catterall feels that it is AJ’s fight to lose, presuming he turns up for the bout in the right frame of mind and takes Ngannou seriously.

What’s Next For AJ

heavyweight boxer cartoon looks like tyson furyUnderstanding the world of heavyweight boxing nowadays is like trying to understand the inner thoughts of your pet dog: most of the time it seems to be making sensible decisions and then every now and then it licks its own private parts for an unhealthily long amount of time.

The decision to avoid the big fights and instead take on fighters who nobody takes very seriously is the boxing equivalent of licking its own private parts, with Joshua’s reputation taking one hell of a beating, pun once again intended, when he lost to Andy Ruiz Jr., given that most people thought he’d absolutely destroy the journeyman but failed to do so.

With all of that in mind, you can assume that what will come next for AJ, should he defeat Ngannou, is a fight against the winner of the bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. The problem is, the complicated world of heavyweight boxing is such that there are all sorts of mandatory challengers for each of the belts currently in Usyk’s possession and they should get priority.

If, of course, Joshua loses, it is difficult to see any way back for him as a serious contender for the heavyweight crown. There are many younger boxers making their way through the ranks who will be given much more credence than the one-time heavyweight champion of the world.

Francis Ngannou Profile

francis ngannou

X2o, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re wondering who Francis Ngannou is, you won’t be on your own. Boxing fans are unlikely to have heard of him prior to Tyson Fury agreeing to take him on in Saudi Arabia in 2023 given the fact that he made a name for himself in the world of UFC.

Born Francis Zavier Ngannou on the fifth of September 1986, the Cameroonian-French mixed martial artist spent most of his career in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, making his way up to the position of UFC Heavyweight Champion before signing up to the Professional Fighters League, an alternative to UFC.

Born into poverty in the Cameroonian village of Batié, Ngannou used his father’s negative reputation as a street fighter as motivation to do something more positive with his life. As a result, he persuade a career in boxing before discovering the world of MMA. He starting his career in that sport in 2013, earning a record of 5-1 before signing up with the UFC.

When he knocked out Alistair Overeem on the second of December 2017, it was considered one of the most brutal knockouts ever. His first fight for the UFC Heavyweight Championship resulted in a first round knockout of his opponent.

When Francis took on Tyson Fury in October 2023 in a 10 round bout with no belts on the line it was very much seen as just another money spinner.  It was a money spinner but many people were surprised how well he fought.  He took the fight to 10 rounds and knocked Fury down in the 3rd.  In the end the fight was called for Fury by split-decision on points and many feel the fight maybe should have been called for Ngannou.

The reward for coming so close in the “battle of the baddest” was people started to take Ngannou seriously, even Anthony Joshua who had called his fight against Fury a “gimmick”.  Whether The Predator can go one better against AJ remains to be seen but it must be astonishing for him to have taken on Fury and AJ in a matter of months.  If he beats AJ he might get a crack at Usyk, although we don’t know whether belts would be on the line or if it is just another money fight.

Francis Ngannou Stats and Facts:

  • Full Name: Francis Zavier Ngannou
  • Nickname: The Predator
  • Nationality: Cameroonian; French
  • Date of Birth: 5th September 1986
  • Stance: Orthodox
  • Weight: Heavyweight
  • Height: 6 foot 4 inches
  • Reach: 83 inches
  • Professional MMA Record To Date: 20 fights, 17 wins, 12 by KO
  • Professional Boxing Record To Date: 2 fights, s losses

Anthony Joshua Profile

boxing legend poster with union jack flag

Born in the UK on the fifteenth of October 1989 but raised in Nigeria until he was twelve, Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua has become one of the best-known boxers in the world. Perhaps what is most remarkable about his rise is that he only started boxing at the age of eighteen when Ben Lleyemi, his cousin and a professional boxer in his own right, suggested that he take it up. Sufficed to say that his success since then has proven his cousin’s suggestion to have been a worthwhile one.

A natural athlete from an early age, he showed promise in both sprinting and football but chose not to pursue a career in either of them. Joshua’s mother, Yeta, was Nigerian and his father, Robert, was English but of Nigerian and Irish descent. Having travelled to his ancestral home at an early age, Joshua returned to Watford when his parents divorced in 2001. He was midway through Year Seven of school at the time, but he didn’t allow the disruption to affect his life to any real extent. Here’s a look at his story.

Amateur Career

boxing gloves red pairDespite only starting boxing relatively late in his youth, Anthony Joshua was a quick learner at the sport thanks to the coaching he received at Finchley Amateur Boxing Club in the Barnet area of North London. He won his first tournament two years after joining when he picked up the Haringey Box Cup, retaining it the following year. Unsurprisingly, those trophies gave him a taste for winning and in 2010 he fought what was just his eighteenth bout but saw him victorious in the senior Amateur Boxing Association Championship.

On the back of that, the then twenty-one-year-old was offered his first professional contract, which was worth £50,000. It was an easy decision for him, though, later saying, “Turning down that £50,000 was easy. I didn’t take up the sport for money, I want to win medals”. Winning medals was something that he was learning how to do, defending his ABA Championship title in 2011. Whilst he was known domestically at that stage, it wasn’t until 2011 that Joshua began to earn respect in an international sense. Having travelled to Azerbaijan to take part in the World Amateur Boxing Championships in Baku, he beat the World and Olympic champion, Italian Robert Cammarelle.

Olympic Boxing

boxer celebrating in front of union jackThe domestic success that Anthony Joshua enjoyed in 2010 saw him invited to join the GB Boxing team and he soon defeated Amin Isa to become the British amateur champion at the GB Amateur Boxing Championships. After defeating Cammerelle in Baku, Joshua also beat Erik Pfeifer on his way to the final and in the process secured a place in the 2012 Olympic Games, which were due to be held in London. At the same time, he was also named by the Boxing Writers Club of Great Britain as the Amateur Boxer if the Year. Despite that and the silver medal won at the WAB Championships in Azerbaijan, Joshua was still a novice when it came to international boxing when the 2012 Olympics got underway.

Perhaps one of the most controversial moments of Anthony Joshua’s career to date occurred in the last sixteen bout during the Olympics when he went up against Erislandy Savón, the Cuban boxer who was ranked number four in the world by the AIBA at the time. The home boxer was awarded a 17:16 win by the judges after three hard-fought rounds, with many believing that Savón should’ve won but that the home crowd had swayed the decision. Regardless, it set up a quarter-final bout with Zhang Zhilei, who had won the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, with Joshua dropping him in the second round. He took on the Kazakhstani boxer Ivan Dychko in the semi-final, winning 13:11.

The final saw him come up against a former foe in the shape of Roberto Cammarelle. At the time, Cammarelle was the reigning Olympic Champion and had twice been World Champion, so it was little surprise when he raced into the lead thanks to scores of 6:5 and 13:10. Joshua had a decent third round, however, and in the end the judges called it 18:18 in a decision that critics once again felt was a bit of a ‘home decision’. His gold medal at the 2012 Olympics earned Joshua an MBE in the 2013 New Year Honours.

Professional Heavyweight Boxer

heavyweight boxer announced the winner by referee

Joshua turned professional in July of 2013 when he signed with Matchroom Boxing. He fought nineteen times in the following three years and remained undefeated during that time. He defeated Charles Martin in 2016 to lift the Heavyweight belt, retaining it when he beat Dominic Breazeale in the same year. In December 2016 he fought Eric Molina and retained the title once more.

Perhaps the biggest fight of Joshua’s career to-date came in April of 2017 when the former Olympic gold medalist went up against Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium. At the weigh-in, the Ukrainian came in at 240 and a quarter pounds, whilst Joshua was 250 pounds. In the fight, both men gave everything in front of ninety thousand people and the Englishman won by technical knockout in the eleventh round. Even without the knockout, Joshua was ahead with two of the judges.

As a professional, Anthony Joshua has fought twenty-seven times to date and has won twenty-two of them by knockout, two by decision and of course three losses.  The first when he temporarily lost his belts to Andy Ruiz in June 2019, before claiming them back with a display of traditional boxing in Saudi Arabia in December of the same year.  Then again when Usyk beat him on home soil in 2021 and in the rematch in Saudi Arabia in 2022.

Since fighting Klitschko he has taken on Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin and Andy Ruiz, though the big fight that he wants is against Tyson Fury, who he called out after his win in Wembley back in 2017.

Despite the prospect of a Fury v AJ fight being the biggest talk in boxing for the past few years it seemed like it would never happen.  Partly because Tyson keeps saying he is retired but mainly because if he fought anyone people expected it would be Usyk in a unification fight.

The fact Fury decided to call AJ out in September 2022 instead was a big upset but one massively welcomed by the world of boxing and especially the British public.  It is a lifeline that AJ probably didn’t think he was going to get and the last chance to make sure his legacy remains in tact.  I think on balance AJ might take losing his belts if he can claim to be better than Fury.

The fight still hasn’t come to fruition and in the meantime AJ dispatched Jermaine Franklin by Unanimous Decision at the O2 in London in February 2023. Then 6 months later in August 2023 he beat Finn Robert Helenius (a late substitute for Dillian Whyte who failed a drugs test) in a seventh round KO also at the O2.  Obviously AJ was expected to win both of those fights but it is notable that his knockout of Helenius was his first since beating Kubrat Pulev in December 2020.

Next up for AJ was a fight against Otto Wallin in December 2023, yet again in Saudi Arabia of course.  It was part of a double card that also included Wilder against Parker and the idea was that AJ and Wilder would both win and this would set up a big fight between them in March.  Problem is AJ won by TKP but Wilder lost and that left an open slot and AJ searching for an opponent.

The Saudi’s won’t be without their boxing, it is a key part of their sportswashing program, and so a fight was set up against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou for the March date.  Ngannou had fought Fury in a non-belt 10 round fight the previous year in what was obviously just a money fight but Ngannou did well, knocked Fury down once and only just lost on points.  Despite AJ saying the Fury v Ngannou fight was a “gimmick fight” it appears his mind was quickly changed either by the fact Ngannou was better than people thought or because it represents a big pay day, or a mixture of the two.

The Ngannou fight was hardly at the levels of what AJ has done before but the way he dispatched Francis with a second round knockout certainly made a statement. He may have no titles right now but whatever way you look at it the future of AJ and the heavyweight titles is still exciting and filled with potential drama. His time as heavyweight champion now seems to be behind him but never say never.

Anthony Joshua Stats and Facts

  • Full Name: Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua
  • Nickname: AJ
  • Nationality: British
  • Date of Birth: 15th October 1989
  • Stance: Orthodox
  • Weight: Heavyweight
  • Height: 6 foot 6 inches
  • Reach: 82 inches
  • Professional Record To Date: 31 fights, 28 wins, 3 loses, 0 draws, 25 knock-outs
  • Titles: Former IBF, WBA, WBO, IBO champion

Joshua vs Fury Betting Offers & Head to Head Stats

Usually we cover all of AJ’s fights on this page but the bout against Fury, if it does come off, is so big and tough to call that instead we have created a dedicated page full of head to head stats to help you choose your bets.

Of course, as our name suggests, we also cover all of the best betting deals for the fight for both new and existing customers on our AJ vs Fury page too.

The table below is just a preview of the stats we cover about the two fighters:

Anthony Joshua Tyson Fury
Number KO’s (%) 25 (81%) 24 (71%)
Round With Most KO’s 2 5
Ave Strongest Round 6 10
Result Last Fight Win KO Win Split Decision
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