Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou Fight Preview

Anthony Joshua and mixed martial arts star Francis Ngannou will square off against each other on Friday, 8 March in Riyadh.  The highly anticipated fight is scheduled for 10 rounds and is expected to feature a number of familiar faces in the crowd.

Joshua, the former world heavyweight champion, lost his belts to Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in late 2021. He has had three fights since, all of which he has won and is trying to extend his unbeaten streak to four.

Ngannou, a dual citizen of France and Cameroon, is a former UFC heavyweight champion who now fights for the Professional Fighters League. He has a 17-3 mixed martial arts record with 12 victories by knockout.

Ngannou has dabbled in boxing, making his professional boxing debut last October where he lost to WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury via split decision.

It should be noted that Joshua is fresh off a terrific win against Otto Wallin in December, He seems newly rejuvenated under trainer Ben Davison and looks to be back to top form. The 34-year-old will likely look to get into a proper boxing match instead of a slugfest with Ngannou.

Ngannou proved he clearly had boxing skills in his match with Fury, knocking him to the ground in the third round. Although Joshua is the much more seasoned fighter, he cannot take Ngannou lightly with his immense striking power. Still Joshua remains the favourite going into the bout and he has remained confident in press conferences that he will dominate his opponent.

Both fighters have much to gain from the fight. A win could take Joshua one step closer to fighting for the undisputed world title. Although a more likely scenario for him, should he beat Ngannou, would be taking on Croatia’s number-one ranked IBF fighter Filip Hrgovic.

Ngannou will also see this match as a great way to show his prowess as a boxer. Right now he is still considered an MMA fighter without solid boxing training. A win might not even be required, if he can show that he deserves to be in the ring, he could make his presence on the boxing circuit.

At the weigh-in Ngannou came in at 272.6lbs (19st 6oz) ahead of just his second professional boxing match. Joshua on the other hand was only 252.4lbs (18st), which gives the British boxer a 20 pound disadvantage going into the fight.

Tyson Fury ended up gatecrashing the pre-match press conference for the fight and had a confrontation with Ngannou. The current heavyweight champ shouted out a number of remarks from the front row which seemed to catch the MMA stars attention

All in all, the match should be very entertaining as two of the hardest punching fighters face off against each other. While there aren’t any titles at stake, both fighters have a lot to prove and will want to impress for future bouts. As mentioned before, Joshua is a clear favourite with his experience and boxing technique but there is no doubt that Ngannou has the ability to cause a major upset.

When is Joshua v Ngannou taking place?

The bout is scheduled to take place on Friday, March 8, 2024. The undercard will start at 4pm GMT and the main event is due around 11pm.

The fight is taking place on a Friday instead of the usual slot on Saturday night to avoid a clash with the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix on March 9. 

The matchup will be taking place in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, known for being a top destination for world sporting events. Joshua had previously fought in Riyadh last yearm when he beat Wallin.

Who is on the undercard lineup?

There are 8 fights scheduled for the undercard of Joshua Vs Ngannou, including two title fights:

Zhilei Zhang vs Joseph Parker for WBO interim heavyweight title

Rey Vargas vs Nick Ball for WBC featherweight title

Mark Chamberlain vs Gavin Gwynne

Jack McGann vs Louis Greene

Andrii Novytskyi vs Juan Torres

Justis Huni vs Kevin Lerena

Ziyad Almaayouf vs Christian Lopes Flores

Roman Fury vs Martin Svarc