Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou: Knockout Chaos Preview

Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou will compete in a highly anticipated non-title heavyweight bout on Friday, March 8, in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua is a former two-time unified WBO, WBA, and IBF heavyweight champion. He is now on a three-fight winning run, aiming to reposition himself back into the title picture.

Ngannou, a prominent figure in mixed martial arts, held the title of UFC heavyweight champion before transitioning to boxing, and this will be just his second professional boxing match following an ultra-impressive decision loss to Tyson Fury.

For this historic event, dubbed ‘Knockout Chaos,’ the co-main event will see former world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker facing off against Zhilei Zhang for the WBO interim heavyweight championship.

Joshua vs. Ngannou: Knockout Chaos Event Information

  • Date & Time: Saturday, March. 8, 2024 – 03:00 p.m. GMT
  • Location: Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Promotion: Matchroom Boxing
  • Scheduled Bouts: 8
  • How to Watch: Pay Per View
  • Main Event Bout: Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou
  • Co-Main Event Bout: Zhilei Zhang vs. Joseph Parker

Joshua vs. Ngannou: The Tale of the Tape

  • Country: UK
  • Location: Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Age: 34
  • Record: 27-3-0
  • KOs: 24
  • Height: 6’6”
  • Reach: 82.0”
  • Win/Loss (Last 5): WWWLL
  • Stance: Orthodox
  • Inactivity: 76 days
  • Pro: 10 years

Francis Ngannou Profile

  • Country: Cameroon
  • Age: 37
  • Record: 0-1-0
  • KOs: 0
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Reach: 83.0”
  • Win/Loss (Last 5): L
  • Stance: Orthodox
  • Inactivity: 132 days
  • Pro: 4 months

A 0-1-0 Record, What?

Affirmative, in boxing, Ngannou owns a 0-1 record. He failed to secure victory in his pro debut versus Tyson Fury; however, he is an experienced MMA fighter regarded as the most prominent knockout artist in sports history.

Despite having just one prior boxing match, he had the most remarkable professional boxing debut in history. In October, he faced “The Gypsy King” in a non-title match. Fury is the WBC heavyweight champion and is widely considered the best of the best in heavyweight boxing. Ngannou surprised the masses by knocking Fury down and coming close to overcoming the champ, ultimately losing by a split decision.

The Pressure on Joshua

Picture it now: an MMA professional with a 0-1 boxing record defeats Joshua, one of the sport's most recognisable competitors…

Putting that aside, Ngannou could embark on a very profitable career if he were to win the bout or even perform creditably against Joshua, similar to his performance against Fury. This would allow him to fight at the highest levels of both boxing and mixed martial arts moving forward.

A loss would be devastating for Joshua, as he is aiming for another crack at the world championship, and a loss here would put an end to his dreams.

Anthony Joshua: The Comeback

Even though top heavyweights nowadays usually only fight once or twice a year, AJ has been quite busy after losing his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk in 2022, embarking on a comeback journey.

Joshua has gone on an unexpected three-fight winning run after fighting three times last year. Everything began in April of last year when AJ defeated Jermaine Franklin unanimously after 12 rounds of fighting. Joshua then defeated Robert Helenius in the seventh round in August. Also, in December, during the main event of Boxing Day of Reckoning, Joshua defeated Otto Wallin by a wide margin; the referee halted the bout after round 5 because Wallin was overwhelmed.

Ngannou vs. Joshua at the Bookmakers

A comparison of the records of these two combatants would lead one to anticipate only one victor and the odds at top-rated boxing betting sites across the UK have also taken this stance.

Anthony Joshua [1/4]

Francis Ngannou [18/5]

Ngannou has the potential to be one of Joshua's most challenging opponents, even if the odds don't suggest it. Furthermore, punching power seems to be Joshua's Achilles' heel, and Ngannou's October knockdown over Fury demonstrated his immense strength.

Neither of the two bouts between the Brit and Usyk revealed a particularly powerful heavyweight, yet Joshua seemed hesitant and was clearly terrified of receiving heavy shots. That said, recent wins over Robert Helenius and Otto Wallin showed Joshua becoming more daring, yet both fighters are restricted in power and put up little fight.

In Saudi Arabia, however, Ngannou is anticipated to present a significantly higher KO threat on Joshua and could overcome what seem to be excessively dismissive odds.

What Awaits the Victor

The winner of Joshua-Ngannou will be regarded highly by the sanctioning bodies for global titles.

Joshua is currently ranked No. 1 with the WBC, No. 2 with the WBA, No. 3 with the IBF, and No. 1 with the WBO (behind champion Oleksandr Usyk and interim titlist Zhang). He is also the No. 1 contender with the WBA.

Not forgetting, Ngannou's performance against Fury garnered him a No. 10 WBC classification despite the unusual 0-1 record he holds.

An additional opportunity would present itself for the victor of this bout, who would also be ranked alongside Fury and Usyk as the most prominent heavyweight in the world.

Fury and Usyk, who together own the WBC, WBA, WBO, and IBF championships, will fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship on May 18. Despite potential delays due to Fury and Usyk's next fights, the winner of AJ-Ngannou might still be on track to face the winner of Fury-Usyk in the near future.

Knockout Chaos: The Undercard

After destabilising Deontay Wilder and thwarting the planned Joshua vs. Wilder bout, Joseph Parker of New Zealand returns to face Zhilei Zhang, a formidable heavyweight who retained the WBO interim belt by stopping Joe Joyce twice last year.

The most significant event on a talent-stacked undercard is unquestionably the clash between Zhang and Parker for the WBO world championship. However, this won’t be the only high-profile title bout, as Nick Ball challenges Rey Vargas for the WBC featherweight championship.

  • Zhilei Zhang [26-1-1] vs. Joseph Parker [34-3-0]
  • Nick Ball [19-0-0] vs. Rey Vargas [36-1-0]
  • Mark Chamberlain [14-0-0] vs. Gavin Gwynne [17-2-0]
  • Justis Huni [8-0-0] vs. Kevin Lerena [30-2-0]
  • Jack McGann [9-0-1] vs. Louis Greene [16-4-0]
  • Israil Madrimov [9-0-1] vs. Magomed Kurbanov [25-0-0]
  • Andrii Novytskyi [9-0-0] vs. Juan Torres [11-5-1]

Share this story

must see

  • Haney vs Garcia
  • Alvarez vs Munguia
  • Inoue vs Nery