Two-time world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will face former UFC world heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in a boxing bout in Saudi Arabia, organizers have announced.
Joshua had announced his intention to face ex-WBC champion Deontay Wilder if they both won when they fight on the same card in Riyadh on December 23. However, Wilder suffered a surprising defeat to New Zealander Joseph Parker, before Joshua scored a knockout victory over Otto Wallin later in the evening.
“Tonight we confirm that the matter is heard,” Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, said in a message posted Friday on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou face off in big night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - press conference January 15th in London with full details to come!”
ESPN reported that the fight would take place in early March, a few weeks after WBC world champion Tyson Fury faces WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight title of the world.
Ngannou, who relinquished his heavyweight belt following a contract dispute with the UFC and left the UFC as a free agent in January last year, made his boxing debut professional against Fury in October.
The French-Cameroonian fighter lost a split decision in this non-title fight, but he nearly sprung a surprise by knocking Fury to the mat with a left hook.
Following his loss to Fury, Ngannou was ranked number 10 in the heavyweight division by the World Boxing Council (WBC).
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