Joshua Vs. Ngannou Agreed For March

Anthony Joshua has agreed a deal to face Francis Ngannou on March 8/9, 2024, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The news of the fight comes after Joshua’s impressive fifth-round stoppage of Otto Wallin. There was an expectation to fight Deontay Wilder after a two-fight deal was in place. But Wilder’s loss to Joseph Parker ended hopes of that. A Joshua fight with Filip Hrgovic appeared the most likely since he is the IBF interim champion. 

The bout could have been for the full title as Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk’s rematch clause meant the winner would be stripped if they did not face Hrgovic, leaving Joshua as the next-highest-ranked fighter in the IBF rankings. The fight has given Ngannou a huge opportunity to follow up on the Fury performance. 

Ngannou impressed on his boxing debut, dropping Fury in round three, as he lost a split decision. Despite the defeat, some in the boxing community felt he should have been given the decision. The performance earned him a top-ten WBC ranking, with a chance to prove that the Fury performance was not a one-off. But the announcement leaves question marks over Ngannou’s MMA future since he has not fought since beating Ciryl Gane at UFC 270.

Wilder vs. Zhang

There are also reports Deontay Wilder could face the WBO heavyweight interim champion, Zhilei Zhang, on the undercard. Wilder is looking to bounce back from his loss to Joseph Parker, while Zhang arrives into the fight with two consecutive knockouts of Joe Joyce. The winner becomes the WBO mandatory for the winner of Fury vs. Usyk. 

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