Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou Picks and Predictions: Favored Joshua Won't Be Shocked

Francis Ngannou surprised many in his boxing debut against Tyson Fury but against an opponent in Anthony Joshua who will see it all coming, we don't see him having similar luck. We break down the odds and the matchup in our full boxing preview below.

Mar 8, 2024 • 15:24 ET • 4 min read
Anthony Joshua Boxing
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Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou collide in a heavyweight battle that can’t be missed, and their high-stakes showdown takes place tonight, March 8, at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Ngannou continues to test himself against the best boxers in the world after a stunning near-upset of Tyson Fury last year. However, he may not enjoy the same success against the athletic Joshua.

Boxing odds have Joshua as a -340 favorite, with Ngannou as a +260 underdog.  Here are my free betting picks for Joshua vs. Ngannou from Riyadh.

Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou odds

Method of victory Anthony Joshua Francis Ngannou
Win outright -340 +260
Win by KO/TKO -135 +340
Win by points or decision +310 +1,400
Draw +2,000 +2,000

Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of March 8, 2024.

Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou betting predictions

Picks made on March 4. Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou boxing prediction and best bet

Prediction: Anthony Joshua ML

Much has been made about Ngannou’s surprising performance against Tyson Fury last October — so much so that he’s faring better in terms of the odds against Joshua.

In a way, this is a better style matchup for Ngannou than Fury was, but the same intangibles that nearly saw him upset the best heavyweight on the planet won’t be present here. Fury was out of shape, disinterested, and underestimated the will of his heavy-handed opponent.

With Joshua angling to challenge for the heavyweight title once more, and looking more like the fighter he once was now that he’s linked up with trainer Ben Davidson, there’s no way Joshua makes the same mistake as Fury will.

Ngannou’s determination and punching power can’t be denied. Still, just as Ngannou will be better prepared for his second boxing match, Joshua will be better prepared for the challenge than Fury was.

The big question is how Joshua will do against an opponent who isn’t going to back down and take his best shots as he trucks onward. Though Ngannou is outgunned by the more athletic and explosive Joshua, he’s not entirely out of the fight, especially if Joshua starts doubting himself or overinvests in trying to land a big knockout shot early in the fight.

It should be another commendable showing for Ngannou, but without the element of surprise, Joshua knows what to look forward to. Joshua is the pick. 

Prediction: Anthony Joshua moneyline (-350 at BetMGM)

Best bet: Over 6.5 rounds

Throughout his entire MMA career, Ngannou has never been knocked out. His reliable chin and excellent punching power — which translated to the boxing ring as he scored a knockdown on Fury — keep him a threat for the duration of the fight.

Joshua will be motivated to best Fury’s lackluster performance but isn’t going to take any unnecessary risks if Ngannou proves to be a worthy opponent. 

Joshua’s movement and faster hands could cause problems for Ngannou over the second half of the fight. Once Ngannou begins to tire, Joshua will have the choice of either pouring it on his fading foe or carrying him to the end of the 10-round fight with the outcome practically secured. 

I wouldn’t doubt these two could trade dramatic moments early on, but it’s hard for me to see Joshua cracking Ngannou’s chin and earning a stoppage as many expect. There's the possibility that Joshua could do it, but most of his stoppages happen beyond the six-round mark with a decision also likely.

Prediction: Over 6.5 rounds (-115 at DraftKings)

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Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou betting preview

After back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk, many were wondering about his place in the division. Joshua has gone 3-0 and looked vicious in a December KO win over Otto Wallin. Joshua did not have the look of a gunshy fighter, taking care of business against a fighter who many considered to be a dark horse contender.

Ngannou needs no introduction. The former UFC heavyweight champion made good on his promise to break into boxing. His debut nearly saw him unseat Fury as he dropped him early and stayed right on him, having to settle for a split-decision loss.

His fight with Fury ended a long layoff, and he’ll need to be sharper and looser against a bigger puncher in Joshua. While much has been said about Joshua’s recent struggles, the record shows he’s only fallen short against elite talents at their best, and he’ll have the extra motivation to outdo regional rival Fury’s performance as he eyes a future showdown in 2024.

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