Eddie Hearn reveals what Joshua must do to BREAK THE WILL of Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou is a very hard man with an incredible back story, it will not be easy for anybody to break his will, his spirit. But that is what Anthony Joshua must do on March 8 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The former UFC heavyweight king was a revelation on his professional boxing debut last October, as he almost defeated the WBC and lineal king Tyson Fury in a shocking crossover fight in the desert.

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The 37-year-old Ngannou had Fury on the floor before finally losing a controversial split decision to ‘The Gypsy King’, and in the process proved a million pundits wrong. Notable among them, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.

Ngannou’s reward for that performance is another heavyweight blockbuster for his second pro fight – against none other than Joshua himself in early March. Hearn, proved so wrong by ‘The Predator’ before that Fury fight, is under no illusions this time about the size of the task facing his own man.

Eddie Hearn on Ngannou

He told TNT Sports: “It’s the first time AJ has ever competed with anybody who is remotely the same in terms of frame and mass. We hear the stories about how strong he is, we hear the stories about how hard he can punch.

“I still find it difficult to subscribe to I don’t believe you can just stroll into the sport and beat the elite, but he [Ngannou] so very nearly did it against what many regard as the best heavyweight in the world. So we take him very, very seriously, it’s a fight full of jeopardy. But it’s one that, if you use your brain and you use your speed, you should win.”

Hearn spoke in reverential tones about the battle that Ngannou went through in life just to get to professional sports. For that reason alone, breaking his spirit on March 8 will not be easy for AJ, but Hearn outlined the gameplan to do just that.

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“How do you break that will when you know that back story? When you know what that guy went through to get to where he is today? This is a serious dude, going through countries and through rivers and seas to get to where he needs to be to achieve his dream. This is a man full of resilience, this is a man full of strength, this is a man full of will. And you have to break that will.

How AJ can ‘break’ Ngannou’s will

“AJ summed that up perfectly, you’ve got to break his soul and break his will, but you do that with force and speed. Because it doesn’t matter how much will you’ve got, when you get hit hard on the chin you can get taken out. And that goes both ways.”

A new and intriguing factor is at play in this March 8 superfight, with the news that the winner will face either Fury or Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world. Those two of course meet in Riyadh on February 17.

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“For Ngannou to fight for the undisputed championship in his third fight, it could be a rematch with Fury. He could become undisputed world heavyweight champion. For us, and for AJ, we’ve dreamed about that for so many years. I just said to AJ, two wins and your undisputed heavyweight champion.

I believe he’s gonna do it, I really do. I know I’m a fanboy but I believe he’s gonna beat Ngannou and I believe he’s gonna beat Tyson Fury. I would just say, February 17, Oleksandr Usyk I love you. But Tyson Fury, you’ve got to win this fight. Because AJ, once he goes through Ngannou, we’ve got to make it happen.”

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