Report: Francis Ngannou vs. Anthony Joshua booked for Saudi Arabia showdown, date TBA
Francis Ngannou’s meteoric boxing career continues with a showdown against former heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia, according to a new report.
Veteran MMA journalist Ariel Helwani announced the fight Friday, citing Saudi royal advisor Turki AlAlShikh. A press conference is expected to announce the fight’s date, but Helwani said AlAlShikh has confirmed both sides have signed a deal to make official a 10-round heavyweight fight for later this year in Riyadh.
The booking comes three days after Joshua’s co-promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, said discussions were underway for an “absolutely colossal” fight between Joshua and Ngannou; the matchup was one of three possibilities that included Joshua facing the winner of an upcoming title unifier between champs Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.
Joshua, the former WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champ, continued his comeback tour this past month, outpointing Otto Walin as the co-headliner opposite Deontay Wilder on the Day of Reckoning card in Saudi Arabia. The win upped Joshua’s current streak to three after a pair of setbacks to Usyk. Expectations were high for Wilder to face Joshua if victorious, but the ex-champ was upset by Joseph Parker.
For former UFC heavyweight champ Ngannou, the booking is another big coup that comes three months after a near-upset of Fury in his professional boxing debut. Written off prior to the fight, Ngannou shocked the boxing world by pushing Fury to his limit, even knocking the champ down at one point before losing via split decision.