Boxing analyst Gareth A. Davies insists that fans and media shouldn’t underestimate Francis Ngannou in his heavyweight ten-round fight against Anthony Joshua on March 8th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Gareth believes Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) faces real “jeopardy” against the big-punching Ngannou, who gave Tyson Fury all he could handle last October.

Davies admits that this wasn’t the best version of Fury that competed against Ngannou, but he was still talented.

Joshua is making sure that he’s in the best possible shape for this fight because he doesn’t want Ngannou to catch him off guard, overlooking him and thinking it will be an easy fight.

That’s what some boxing fans believe was the cause for Joshua’s loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019 when he treated his replacement opponent like it would be an easy win.

Ngannou’s Underestimated Skills

“There is genuine jeopardy for Joshua in this fight. Rewatch what Ngannou did against Tyson Fury. I know Fury had a terrible night against him,” said Gareth A. Davies to Boxing Social.

If the 34-year-old Joshua loses to Ngannou, he would have to face him in a rematch without going ahead with his plans to fight the Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk winner.

Of course, the Saudis could still give Joshua a free pass and let him back into that fight, but AJ has too much pride to accept preferential treatment from His Excellency. Fighting Ngannou a second time would have Joshua over a barrel, where he couldn’t afford to take a loss.

Losing twice to Usyk was excusable, as he was a 2012 Olympic gold medalist and former undisputed cruiserweight champion. Getting beaten by the novice Francis Ngannou wouldn’t have a built-in excuse for Joshua, his promoter Eddie Hearn, and his fans to explain away the defeat.

Resilience & Belief

“Rewatch what Ngannou did. He’s a much better boxer than we ever gave him credit for,” said Gareth. “He holds his shape, counter-punches well, punches his opponents, and switches to southpaw decently. He’s very resilient.

“He clearly has a lot of self-belief and deep focus. They [Team Ngannou] have tunnel vision. They absolutely believe they’re going to get Anthony Joshua and knock him out,” said Gareth.

Ngannou is an excellent counter-puncher, and that’s going to make Joshua cautious about throwing his right hand or left hook, knowing he could get countered with something big.

Read the full article here