Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou a DONE DEAL as ‘colossal’ fight confirmed

It’s official – Anthony Joshua will lock horns with former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in his next fight.

The two-time world heavyweight champion was super impressive in demolishing Otto Wallin in five rounds on that huge ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in Saudi Arabia on December 23. And now he will return to Riyadh on Friday March 8 for a massive showdown with Ngannou. The full announcement will come at a London press conference on Monday week (January 15).

Latest Heavyweight Rankings – Top 10 AFTER the ‘Day of Reckoning’

It will be only the second ever fight as a professional boxer for Ngannou, who produced a stunning performance on debut to take WBC and lineal heavyweight king Tyson Fury right to the brink last October. He had Fury on the floor in Round 3 before finally dropping a hotly-disputed decision.

The experts believe Ngannou’s star as a heavyweight boxer will never be higher than it is right now after pushing Fury as he did, so the perfect time to cash in.

Francis Ngannou vs Tyson Fury Saudi Arabia
Francis Ngannou will face Anthony Joshua next (Photo – Round ‘N’ Bout Media/Queensberry Promotions).

For Joshua meanwhile there was a choice of Ngannou, or two other leading heavyweight contenders in Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic and China’s Zhilei Zhang. It had been hoped a Joshua vs Hrgovic fight might be for the vacant IBF title following that Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk unification match on February 17.

Joshua next fight WILL be Ngannou

But on Friday night, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed on X that his man’s next fight WILL be against Ngannou. It gives him the opportunity for another massive payday, and a fight where he should start a strong favourite. Hearn described the bout as ‘colossal’ earlier this week.

AJ fought three times in 2023, and was more impressive each time than the last. He followed a points win over Jermaine Franklin with a KO of late stand-in Robert Helenius and then saved the best until last. That was the demolition of Wallin courtesy of a terrific performance which busted the Swede up in impressive fashion.

Joshua (now 27-3) had started 2023 with much to prove and his career at the highest level in some doubt. He had lost twice in back-to-back title fights vs Usyk – first in London in 2021 and then in Saudi Arabia in 2022. He needed to prove himself, and that is exactly what he did.

Former Fury mentor Ben Davison headed up Joshua’s corner for the first time vs Wallin and they appeared to form the perfect partnership. The gameplan was good and AJ executed it to perfection. Now Joshua will be expected to to do the same vs Ngannou as he tries to position himself for a shot at the Fury vs Usyk winner.