In a surprising turn of events, Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou have inked a deal for a highly-anticipated heavyweight boxing match scheduled for March 8 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The announcement was made by Turki Alalshikh, chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority.
Originally, Joshua had a clash lined up with Deontay Wilder on March 9 in Riyadh, but Wilder’s recent upset by Joseph Parker changed the course of events. Joshua seized the opportunity to secure a formidable matchup with Ngannou, adding an extra layer of excitement for fans.
Joshua’s victory over Otto Wallin in December showcased a reinvigorated performance, marking his third win in 2023. The heavyweight champion, eager to reclaim his titles, expressed determination and a newfound killer instinct.
Ngannou, the former UFC heavyweight champion, made an explosive entrance into professional boxing by flooring Tyson Fury in Riyadh. Despite a split-decision loss, Ngannou left an indelible impression, setting the stage for a showdown with another British boxing star.
The bout is expected to be a 10-round clash, and the winner will likely be in a strong position for future title contention. Joshua, a two-time heavyweight champion, seeks redemption after his defeats to Oleksandr Usyk, while Ngannou aims to prove that his debut performance was no fluke.
With the undisputed heavyweight championship between Fury and Usyk set for February 17 in Riyadh, the winner of the Joshua-Ngannou match could potentially face the victor of the main event.
This unexpected matchup adds a new chapter to the evolving narrative of heavyweight boxing, and a press conference is scheduled for January 15 in London, according to Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter. The fight promises to captivate audiences with the clash of two formidable forces in the boxing world.