Anthony Joshua next fight: Ngannou showdown CONFIRMED

We now know who Anthony Joshua will face in his next fight after that eagerly-awaited showdown vs Deontay Wilder fell through.

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AJ and Wilder had signed a two-fight deal with the first meeting planned for Friday March 8 in Saudi Arabia. All they needed to do was avoid defeat in their respective bouts on that massive ‘Day of Reckoning’ bill on December 23.

Things fell apart before AJ even entered the ring to face Otto Wallin, as Wilder dropped a conclusive points decision to former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker.

Joshua would later produce a very impressive performance to blast out Wallin in five one-sided rounds, but the Wilder dream was dead and a new opponent for March 8 would be required.

Earlier this week promoter Eddie Hearn identified three potential opponents – Chinese giant Zhilei Zhang, Croat Filip Hrgovic and former UFC heavyweight king Francis Ngannou.

Ngannou gets Joshua gig

Zhang (26-1-1) and Hrgovic (17-0) would both have represented stern tests for Joshua, but Ngannou is potentially an even bigger draw and an easier fight with only one professional boxing bout under his belt.

That pro debut was quite something for Ngannou though – as he took WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury right to the wire before dropping a hotly-contested decision. He also had ‘The Gypsy King’ on the floor in Round 3.

The official announcement for Joshua vs Ngannou will come at a London press conference on January 15, but Hearn has confirmed that is the fight and now we wait for another spectacular night as ‘Riyadh Season’ provides the fights boxing fans could only dream of.

A win over Ngannou of course would keep AJ right in the running to face the winner of that massive Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk unification battle. That is set for February 17, also in Riyadh.