Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou will write the latest chapter in what has the potential to be a golden age for heavyweight boxing.
Joshua, the two-time former world heavyweight king, will match former UFC star Ngannou in an eagerly-awaited prizefight in Saudi Arabi as ‘Riyadh Season’ heads towards its climax.
We have already had Tyson Fury vs Ngannou and that huge ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in recent months, and on February 17 we get the Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk unification showdown for all of the heavyweight marbles.
Then Joshua vs Ngannou will be next up and centre stage in what should be yet another fascinating showdown in boxing’s marquee weight class.
When is Joshua vs Ngannou?
Joshua vs Ngannou will take place on Friday March 8, 2024. Ring walks for the main event are likely to take place at around 2300 UK time. That is midnight CET or 1800 Eastern Standard Time in the United States. If you’re on the West Coast, you should be ready for ring action from 1500 PST.
How to watch live: TV channel and live stream details
At last the TV details are (mostly) confirmed for Joshua vs Ngannou – and here is what we know now.
We have no details yet on pricing, but remember that ‘Day of Reckoning’ card was a very affordable £19.99 in the UK and $39.99 in the US after a plea from Turki Alalshikh to make it affordable for fans.
Joshua vs Ngannou venue and tickets
The bout will take place in Saudi Arabia (specifically Riyadh). The Saudis were ready to put up a massive $155million site fee to host a Fury vs Joshua showdown in the summer of 2021 and reportedly shelled out a whopping $50million for Fury to face Ngannou in October of 2023. They have the cash to make fights happen that until now appeared to be a pipdream.
If you are looking to travel to Riyadh for the big fight, the official Riyadh Season website should have details on where they can be purchased.
What is at stake?
This fight should be a huge money spinner for both men. Joshua is right back at the heavyweight top table after that demolition job on Wallin. Ngannou’s heavyweight star may never be brighter than it is right now after his terrific showing vs Fury back in October.
Joshua knows that a defeat here by a man who is still really a novice in professional boxing terms would be a disaster, while an impressive win would keep him right in position for a shot at the Fury vs Usyk winner.
Ngannou was already ranked in the top 10 by the WBC after the Fury fight, so a win here would potentially see him rocket further up the rankings and in line for a world title shot at some stage soon. Astonishing stuff.
Joshua is a relatively hot favourite here, trading at 1/5 with UK bookmakers. Ngannou meanwhile is a 6/1 underdog, with the Draw priced at 20/1.
Joshua vs Ngannou weights
The weigh-in for the big fight will take place in Riyadh on Thursday March 7, 2024.
Joshua has been as light as 240lbs for his fights with Usyk, but he was a much beefier 251lbs (17st 13lbs) for the win over Wallin. Ngannou meanwhile scaled 271lbs (19st 5lbs) for the fight against Fury.
Anthony Joshua (full name Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua) was born in Watford, England on October 15, 1989. He is now 34 years old and stands 1.98m tall (6ft 6ins). He has a reach of 82ins.
Joshua has fought 30 times as a professional, with a 27-3 record. 27 wins and 3 losses, with 24 of the wins coming inside distance.
AJ, a former Olympic champion in the amateurs, has an impressive resume – which includes some of the biggest names in the heavyweight division in recent years.
Joshua, among others, has posted victories over Dillian Whyte, Charles Martin, Wladimir Klitschko, Joseph Parker, Carlos Takam, Alexander Povetkin, Andy Ruiz, Kubrat Pulev, Robert Helenius and Otto Wallin.
Joshua’s defeats have all come in world title fights – that shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 and then those back-to-back decisions at the hands of Usyk in 2021 and 2022.
He fought three times in 2023 as he rebounded from those back-to-back Usyk losses. A points victory over Jermaine Franklin was followed by a knockout of late stand-in Helenius. Then came the impressive showing which resulted in a five-round win over Wallin in December.
Francis Ngannou record
Francis Ngannou was born in Batié, Cameroon on September 5, 1986 and he is now 37 years old. He stands 1.93m tall (6ft 4ins) and has a reach of 83ins.
From a boxing perspective, not a great deal to say here. Francis is 0-1 after one pro fight, but what a performance it was.
The former UFC heavyweight king had Fury on the deck in Round 3 and pushed ‘The Gypsy King’ all the way before finally dropping a hotly-contested decision. It was an incredible performance given Ngannou had never boxed professional before. Obviously we don’t know how much of that was thanks to any lack of focus from Fury.
Before that crossover fight Ngannou had been a superstar in MMA, becoming UFC heavyweight champion along the way and posting a 17-3 record in the process.
Joshua vs Ngannou undercard
This is pretty spectacular already from a heavyweight perspective – and the undercard makes it even more INCREDIBLE.
The co-main feature is Joseph Parker vs Zhilei Zhang – Parker coming off that upset win over Deontay Wilder and Zhang coming off back-to-back wins over Joe Joyce.
Then we have the mandatory IBF heavyweight title contender Filip Hrgovic likely to be in action too. He has a six-man shortlist of potential opponents – they are Daniel Dubois; Agit Kabayel; Jared Anderson; Jarrell Miller; Martin Bakole; Frank Sanchez. Any of those would be a terrific match…