Anthony Joshua to fight Francis Ngannou on March 8 in Saudi Arabia

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Former heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, will face MMA fighter, Francis Ngannou, in a heavyweight contest on 8 March in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua, 34, previously described a possible fight with Cameroonian-born Ngannou as a “gimmick fight”.

Ngannou shocked the world on his professional boxing debut when he floored Tyson Fury last October, although the WBC heavyweight world champion ultimately won on points via split decision.

But Ngannou is back to take on another British heavyweight in Joshua, who won three times in 2023 as he rebuilds his career after losing his world titles and suffering successive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk.

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The showdown was confirmed by Joshua’s promoter Hearn, who said on X: “Tonight we confirm it’s a done deal! @anthonyjoshua v @francis_ngannou collide on a huge night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabi”

Meanwhile, fellow promoter Frank Warren said: “Another historic night for
@RiyadhSeason! Press conference and fight date news coming soon. Can’t wait for it all to get started!”

It is expected that the fight will be staged on March 9 – the date originally scheduled for Joshua vs Deontay Wilder.

Joshua and Wilder had reached an agreement to fight on the same Day of Reckoning card in Saudi Arabia on December 23.

Despite Joshua’s victory over Otto Wallin, which forced the Swede to retire, Wilder’s defeat on 23 December by Joseph Parker scuttled these plans.

Due to this, organizers had to find a bout for the Watford fighter on the same weekend as the Wilder showdown.

Joshua versus Ngannou fight will take place on a Friday to avoid a clash with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix which is due to be held in Jeddah on Saturday, 9 March.

However, in a recent interview with the BBC, Saudi Arabia’s sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal said claims of ‘sportswashing’ were “very shallow”, insisting the investment is boosting the country’s economy, opening it up to tourism and inspiring people to be more active.

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