IT’S being billed as ‘Knockout Chaos’, and yet Anthony Joshua, once of the two heavyweights involved, will be looking to do his best to avoid any chaos when he fights Francis Ngannou on Friday night (March 8).

Former UFC champion Ngannou’s credibility has soared since leaving the Octagon for the squared circle and last October his performance against Tyson Fury had many believing that he had done enough to defeat the WBC heavyweight belt holder. Now, Joshua has the opportunity – in front of Fury – in Riyadh to get one over his rival and defeat the powerful Ngannou.

But what does the trade think? Boxing News contacted a number of figures within the industry to get their predictions.

  1. Ben Shalom: (Promoter) – Joshua.
  2. Callum Johnson: (Cruiserweight) –  I think Joshua does a job on Ngannou.
  3. Charlie Edwards: (Bantamweight) – I think that Joshua vs. Ngannou is going to be a very explosive fight. I feel AJ might take a bit of time to adjust to Ngannou’s timing as he is so unpredictable and he may have to come through some big shots. But I do believe AJ will win the fight.
  4. Billy Nelson: (Trainer) – AJ to outclass Francis and stop him.
  5. Caoimhin Agyarko: (Super-welterweight) – I think AJ on points, maybe a late stoppage if he hurts Ngannou.
  6. Arnie Farnell: (Trainer) – I do expect AJ to win by stoppage, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he got chinned. He’s got to keep the centre of the ring and not let Ngannou bully him.
  7. Archie Sharp: (Super-featherweight) – I believe Joshua knocks him out within five rounds. I feel like he’ll come out wanting to make a statement and he’ll catch him with a straight one-two and that’s what will win him the fight.
  8. Aston Brown: (Middleweight) – Anthony Joshua KO inside five rounds. Too sharp and explosive, just too good for Ngannou.
  9. Solomon Dacres: (Heavyweight) – Joshua by TKO after six rounds.
  10. Mark Neilson: (Promoter) – I think Tyson Fury took Francis Ngannou too lightly when the fought. Anthony Joshua won’t make that mistake. And with Ben Davison in his corner, I expect a points shut-out win or late stoppage for AJ, so long as he keeps his chin out the way.
  11. Izzy Asif: (Promoter) – Joshua to win within six rounds.
  12. Emma Dolan: (Super-flyweight) – Joshua on points. I think he will outbox Ngannou and be up for it after seeing what happened to Fury.
  13. Conor Quinn: (Flyweight) – I’m predicting Anthony Joshua by KO. I think Ngannou is an animal, but AJ is a step too far. Styles make fights and Joshua’s aggressive style will come out on top.
  14. Junaid Bostan: (Super-welterweight) – Joshua to win.
  15. Jack Flatley: (Super-welterweight) – I think Joshua will win and go on to win world titles again.
  16. Callum Simpson: (Super-middleweight) – Joshua by KO.
  17. Jamie Conlan: (Promoter) – I think Ben Davison will have a gameplan to make it an easy night for AJ. A wide points win is how I see it going with a possible late stoppage.
  18. Karris Artingstall: (Featherweight) – I think AJ will get the win on points.
  19. Iain Wilson: (Promoter) – Joshua by stoppage.
  20. Jay Harris: (Flyweight) – I do expect AJ to win but I don’t think he’ll knock him out because Ngannou’s got a decent chin on him.
  21. Chris Sanigar: (Promoter) – Anthony Joshua to win on points but there will be scary moments and at times we may be on the edge of our seats. Discipline is the factor. Joshua must not get greedy and careless.
  22. Mark Dunlop: (Promoter) – I think AJ will stop Ngannou in round nine or 10 and completely break him down with clever boxing.
  23. Jon Pegg: (Trainer) – Joshua by KO in round five. Just too correct and with a point to prove.
  24. Kal Yafai: (Former super-flyweight) – I think Joshua will go in thinking I better be careful because of the power but once he gets his timing and reads him, he’ll step on the gas and try and get him out of there.
  25. Linus Udofia: (Middleweight) – I think Joshua beats Ngannou on a majority or split decision.
  26. Mark Jeffers: (Super-middleweight) – Joshua by KO.
  27. Gamal Yafai: (Former super-bantamweight) – Joshua by KO.
  28. Jack Bateson: (Featherweight) – I think Joshua will stop Ngannou early on. He will be too sharp, strong and will be well up for it.
  29. Kaisy Khademi: (Super-flyweight) – I favour towards Joshua to win on points but I won’t be surprised if Ngannou knocks him out.
  30. Harry Scarff: (Welterweight) – I can see AJ winning but I can see some moments for Ngannou and he could well catch AJ.
  31. Kevin Maree: (Manager) – Joshua wins this with ease. Anything other than a Joshua early stoppage will be a shock.
  32. Mason Cartwright: (Super-welterweight) – I think Joshua will win a wide points decision. Both fighters to have each other hurt at some point, though.
  33. Gary Logan: (Trainer) – I think AJ keeps popping Ngannou down the middle with jabs and straight rights. AJ’s right hand has gotta stay high to avoid the Ngannou left hook which is dynamite. AJ breaks him down by or inside nine rounds.
  34. Liam Dillon: (Super-featherweight) – I’d say Joshua wins, but I think Ngannou will give him a good fight. After the Fury-Ngannou fight Joshua and his team would have been working on capitalising on Ngannou’s weaknesses.
  35. Sam Noakes: (Lightweight) – Joshua to stop Ngannou.
  36. Robbie Davies Jr: (Super-lightweight) – I think Joshua will stop Ngannou. His experience and power punching will walk Ngannou on to long, heavy shots before the halfway mark.
  37. Kevin Mitchell: (Former lightweight) – AJ’s got to be cautious, keep it smart. Take him to rounds six, seven, eight and start putting pressure on him. If he does that, AJ can get him out of there in the ninth or 10th.
  38. Troy Williamson: (Super-welterweight) – Joshua to win by stoppage.
  39. Joe Hughes: (Former super-lightweight) – I think AJ will win in dominant fashion. He won’t underestimate Ngannou the way Fury did.
  40. Ekow Essuman: (Welterweight) – My money’s on AJ, although Ngannou will have been sharpening his tools since his fight with Fury. a points decision. But like everyone else I think it’s a dangerous fight because Ngannou is a big puncher and will be a bit more experienced now.
  41. Tony Sims: (Trainer) – I think Joshua’s boxing ability will see him to a points decision. But like everyone else I think it’s a dangerous fight because Ngannou is a big puncher and will be a bit more experienced now.
  42. Eddie Lam: (Trainer) – I think Ben Davison and Lee Wylie will get the tactics right for AJ and he’ll not get involved and box to a points victory.
  43. Nina Hughes: (Bantamweight) – I think Joshua will win probably on points. Ngannou looks like he has an iron jaw. Not sure if he will get knocked out.
  44. Matthew Hatton: (Trainer) – Joshua on points.
  45. Shakan Pitters: (Light-heavyweight) – Joshua on points.
  46. Sean Noakes: (Welterweight) – I’d say Joshua wins late between rounds eight and 12.
  47. Duke McKenzie: (Former three-weight champ) – I think this is a potential banana skin for AJ. There’s nothing worse in boxing than fighting a man with nothing to lose. I do not believe Ngannou is better equipped to beat Joshua, but this is heavyweight boxing where Ngannou will come to life and pull off a shock victory inside the distance, early or late, and the tip the world heavyweight scene on its head.
  48. Wayne Alexander: (Former super-welterweight) – I think AJ is coming back to the form he was in a few years ago before he lost to Andy Ruiz. I’m going for AJ to put on a clinical performance and win on points or by late stoppage. Parker vs. Zhang is another interesting fight.
  49. Chris Bourke: (Bantamweight) – If Joshua is able to keep to his straight work and one-twos then he wins on points but if Francis is able to get close, I see him stopping AJ. But out of the two I think Joshua. 
  50. Nick Campbell: (Heavyweight) – I think Ngannou is a hard night’s work for anyone in the heavyweight division, but Joshua’s experience and ring IQ will get him the win.
  51. Denzel Bentley: (Middleweight) – I’m going with AJ by late stoppage or points.
  52. Steve Goodwin: (Promoter) – Joshua by any way he wants.
  53. Bradley Rea: (Super-middleweight) – Joshua on points.
  54. Hannah Rankin: (Super-welterweight) – This is a dangerous fight for AJ as he has everything to lose but he has the better skillset and boxing brain so I think as long as he keeps it long and doesn’t get involved on the inside with Ngannou then AJ will take the win.
  55. Samuel Antwi: (Super-welterweight) – I think Joshua wins by unanimous decision.
  56. Nathan Heaney: (Middleweight) – Joshua to win.
  57. Jason Cunningham: (Super-bantamweight) – Joshua by KO.
  58. Anthony Yarde: (Light-heavyweight) – Joshua to win on points.
  59. Chris Jenkins: (Welterweight) – Joshua to win on points. I think he will stick to his boxing. Ngannou can bang as we seen against Fury, but I think Joshua will play it safe.
  60. Dave Coldwell: (Trainer) – I think AJ’s gonna beat him, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he got knocked out. The jeopardy is Ngannou’s long reach. AJ manages to get his bombs off and get back out without any trouble there’s that jeopardy he gets caught on the way out. But the experience and levels and quality AJ has showed throughout his career against good opposition means that he’s just too much for Ngannou. I do see jeopardy in this fight.
  61. Maisey Rose Courtney: (Super-flyweight) – Ngannou has got the power to knock Joshua out and we all know he ain’t got a very good chin. He’s a very good boxer, he might be different now he’s with Ben Davison, but I’ve got this feeling in my belly that if he gets clipped, he’s out for the count. It’s either a Ngannou knockout or Joshua outboxes him but I can’t not see an Ngannou knovckout.
  62. Tori-Ellis Willetts: (Flyweight) – I think Joshua by late stoppage especially now he’s training under Ben Davison.
  63. Jason Moloney: (Bantamweight) – I really liked what I saw from Joshua in his last fight. I expect him to fight a smart fight and outbox Ngannou to win a fairly wide unanimous decision.
  64. Liam Davies: (Super-bantamweight) – I believe Joshua will win the fight on points, but I can see it being a hard night’s work.
  65. Cyrus Pattinson: (Welterweight) – I think Joshua will win by KO. His mind will be far more on it than Fury’s was.
  66. Jazza Dickens: (Featherweight) – AJ to win on points. I think he could get him out down the stretch.

Result: Joshua 64 votes, Ngannou two votes.

And for even more industry predictions collected by BN click the video below.