Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou provides another boxing heavyweight superfight in what is shaping up to be a golden era for the sport’s marquee weight class.
Joshua and Wilder of course had already signed a two-fight deal ahead of that bill, with their first meeting scheduled for March 9. All they needed to do was avoid defeat in their respective bouts on December 23.
AJ kept up his end of the bargain by demolishing Otto Wallin in five rounds, but Wilder suffered a stunningly one-sided loss to Joseph Parker. Joshua vs Wilder was dead (for now) and AJ would need to look for a fresh opponent.
The shortlist came down to three names – unbeaten Croat and top IBF contender Filip Hrgovic, giant Chinese star Zhilei Zhang and former UFC heavyweight champ Ngannou. In the end Ngannou got the nod for a March 8 showdown – in theory it’s the easiest fight for Joshua, and the one with the biggest financial upside.
So what do the latest odds tell us about Ngannou’s chances of a massive upset?
What are the odds for Joshua vs Ngannou?
Right now Joshua (27-3), of course is a firm favourite, but it’s not a complete one-horse race. Ngannou meanwhile is significantly shorter odds than he had been for his first attempt at pro boxing – that narrow points defeat by WBC and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. This is how the UK bookmakers have it:
Bet365: 1/5 Joshua, 7/2 Ngannou
Sky Bet: 1/6 Joshua, 7/2 Ngannou, 20/1 Draw
Paddy Power: 1/6 Joshua, 4/1 Ngannou, 16/1 Draw
William Hill: 1/4 Joshua, 11/4 Ngannou, 20/1 Draw
Betfair: 1/6 Joshua, 4/1 Ngannou, 16/1 Draw
These odds may look pretty one-sided, but in boxing terms with only two real potential results, they are not at all.
For added context, Ngannou was a 7/1 shot to beat Fury, with ‘The Gypsy King’ a massive 1/14 favourite. So Francis is half the odds he was to beat Fury – not surprising given his terrific performance on pro boxing debut.
When is Joshua vs Ngannou?
The big fight goes down in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Friday March 8, 2024. Ring walks are expected to be around 2300 UK time, which is midnight CET. If you are in the United States, the bout will start around 1800 Eastern Standard Time or 1500 PST on the West Coast.
How can I watch the fight live?
There are no officially confirmed details (that should be cleared up at a January 15 press conference in London) but the bout is expected to land once again on DAZN PPV globally. The streaming platform airs all Joshua’s fights. Potentially we could have TNT Sports Box Office (UK) and ESPN+ PPV (US) also coming to the party.
As for pricing, the hope is it will be very reasonable after that terrific value ‘Day of Reckoning’ card. At the request of the Saudi organisers, that was set at $39.99 in the United States and Canada and £19.99 in the UK.