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Claressa Shields: Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou will be close | ‘A split decision going either way’ | Boxing News

Claressa Shields, the boxing star who also competes in MMA, expects Anthony Joshua versus Francis Ngannou to be a close fight. In fact she thinks it will be so tight she is tipping it to be a split decision.

Ngannou is a former UFC heavyweight champion who has only had one professional boxing contest. On March 8, live on Sky Sports Box Office, he will take on two-time unified titlist Anthony Joshua.

Tyson Fury beat Ngannou on a contentious split decision in his last fight and Shields believes Joshua could have a difficult contest too with the mixed martial artist.

“I think it’s going to be a good fight. At first I kind of felt that AJ was going to knock out Ngannou, that’s how I saw the fight. Now it’s kind of shifted on, I feel like it’ll be a split decision going either guy’s way,” Shields told Sky Sports.

“I say that because it feels like AJ has a lot to prove and I feel like when he’s got a lot to prove sometimes he puts too much pressure on himself and he doesn’t fight his fight. And if he doesn’t fight his fight against Francis, Francis is a big, strong and powerful guy too so it can be a closer fight.

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“I believe that AJ has everything in the tank to beat Francis. He just has to do it.”

Shields, an undisputed boxing champion as well as a two-time Olympic gold medallist, has a genuine respect for MMA, especially as she’ll be competing in it. Shields’ next bout in the PFL SmartCage is on Saturday.

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Former cruiserweight world champion Johnny Nelson believes it would be the end of Anthony Joshua’s career if the Brit loses to Francis Ngannou but says he can’t see anything but a victory for AJ

“I say that [Joshua-Ngannou will be close] because of how competitive he was against Tyson Fury. Tyson Fury didn’t take the fight seriously. I think that us boxers have this mental thing where we feel like MMA fighters don’t have good boxing,” she said.

“But Francis is one of those fighters who does mostly stand up when he fights. So he has a pretty good boxing background, pretty good stand up.

“But us as boxers don’t really take that seriously coming from an MMA fighter.

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Sky Sports’ John Dennen and UFC’s Nathaniel Wood discuss whether or not we will see Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields rematch inside an MMA cage

“I feel like if Tyson had done his homework he would have seen, okay, this guy can definitely be a challenge.”

Ngannou has been effective in boxing, and Shields believes learning MMA will help her as a boxer.

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“I feel like I’m great without it. I think it makes me greater and it makes me a better fighter overall. I feel like MMA has added some more knowledge of boxing for me. How they punch, the angles and stuff like that, I can still use that in boxing,” she said.

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Francis Ngannou has already given Anthony Joshua a chilling prediction of his strategy for March 8

“I can still use some of the footwork to set up shots and I know I can hit them from a distance they can’t hit me from. It kind of gives me a higher IQ. It definitely adds but it’s just two different sports for sure.”

She has every intention of returning to boxing later this year and insists she will be more formidable when she does.

“I’m still getting better as a fighter because I never settle on my last performance. I make all my performances better and that’s why none of these girls can keep up. You’re not getting the Claressa you’ve seen fight against Savannah Marshall,” she said.

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Claressa Shields says that she has the PFL championship in her sights as she aims to become a two-sport champion

“When I come back to boxing, people think I looked good against Savannah Marshall and against Maricela Cornejo, oh just wait till I come back, I’m going to be better than that. I’ve gotten better after every fight.

“I have skill, I have power. I’m just the greatest of all time.”

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Watch Joshua vs Ngannou live on Sky Sports Box Office on Friday March 8.

El deporte es una actividad física y competitiva que involucra habilidades, destrezas y esfuerzo físico. Se practica en todo el mundo y puede ser individual o en equipo. Los deportes fomentan la salud, la camaradería y la competencia sana, y varían desde deportes al aire libre como el fútbol y el tenis hasta deportes de interior como el baloncesto y el ajedrez. Cada deporte tiene sus propias reglas y objetivos, pero todos promueven un estilo de vida activo y saludable.

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