Francis Ngannou's 'unquantifiable power' will rattle Anthony Joshua more easily than Tyson Fury, says Dan Hardy

February 25, 2024

Francis Ngannou almost achieved the impossible in his last fight.

A heavyweight champion in the UFC, Ngannou made his professional boxing debut in a non-title bout against Tyson Fury, the reigning WBC champion.

Ngannou not only put Fury down in the third round but he was competitive throughout their 10 rounder and was only defeated on split decision.

That was a shock to the boxing world. Ngannou hopes to spring another surprise when he fights Anthony Joshua on Friday March 8, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Even though Joshua is a former unified WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion, former UFC fighter Dan Hardy believes it's a fight that Ngannou can win.

"I'm going with Ngannou genuinely," Hardy told Sky Sports.

"I picked Fury in the last one. I felt Fury was going to be able to catch him fifth or sixth round once he started to get tired. But this for me is a much better match up for Ngannou.

"I feel like AJ's easier to hit, easier to rattle psychologically and I feel like because of the unknown commodity of Francis Ngannou there's going to be a shock to the system."

Joshua is devastating when he punches in combination. But Hardy believes Ngannou has capabilities Joshua will struggle to contain.

"There's an unquantifiable power about Ngannou and that's concerning because he can punch through a decent guard. I feel like AJ's going to feel punches coming through his guard and they're going to surprise him a little bit," Hardy, a former fighter and expert pundit, said.

"Because Ngannou will let them go and try and really hurt him. But they've both got to respect one another's power. If Ngannou gets tired, he gets over-extended, he leaves himself open, AJ's going to pick him apart and it could look like a very easy night for him.

"AJ knows how to land and deliver a punch. He's very precise. He's very powerful as we know."

But Ngannou will have taken plenty from his experience with Fury too.

"We don't have the surprise factor from Ngannou now but now he's also got the confidence that he can do 10 rounds," Hardy explained.

He insists that Joshua will have to be cautious, especially because of Ngannou's punch power.

"He has to give Ngannou the respect; that he's improved since the last fight and of course with the confidence that he can do 10 rounds," Hardy said.

"I expect to see a busier Francis Ngannou. I don't know whether that's a good thing necessarily because the busier he is, the easier he is to hit.

"Of course, AJ is a supremely talented boxer. Very skilled. Good basics. Good fundamentals. So on paper he should be able to pick Ngannou off and wear him down, keep him at a distance and not over-extend himself.

"But that's also what Tyson should have done as well and it's easier said than done.

"I do wonder whether the confidence of Ngannou is going to make AJ's life a bit easier. But at the same time that confidence can undermine AJ's confidence as well, especially if he has a rough round or two."

Watch Joshua vs Ngannou live on Sky Sports Box Office on Friday March 8

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