Anthony Joshua To Face Francis Ngannou In Heavyweight Clash
Three weeks after WBO, IBF, and WBA belt-holder Oleksandr Usyk fights WBC titlist Tyson Fury in Riyadh, on March 8, Anthony Joshua, the two-time heavyweight world champion, will face former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia.
According to promoter Frank Warren, the winner of Anthony Joshua’s bout with Francis Ngannou may challenge the winner of Usyk(21-0, 14KOs) and Fury’s(34-0-1, 24KOs) undisputed heavyweight title fight later this year.
While most had anticipated that the undisputed battle would be followed by a rematch, it was speculated that the winners of the two fights may face off.
“For the winner, the big fight’s happening on February 17, with Tyson and Usyk. The winner of that – would we like to see them with the winner of this fight? Everybody in boxing would love to see that. So everybody has got something to aim for. It’s huge a moment of excitement for boxing,” said promoter Frank Warren in media reports.
After dropping his belts to Usyk in 2021 and losing in a rematch over a year later, Joshua(27-3, 24KOs) bounced back with three straight wins. Joshua, 34, from aspirations of winning the world title a third time were rekindled after his most recent triumph, a commanding stoppage victory over Otto Wallin in Saudi Arabia in December.
Regarding Ngannou’s challenge, Joshua thinks the mental aspect of an explosive competition will be crucial.
“He brings two arms, a body, like every other fighter does. It’s just his mind that’s different to everyone. He’s seen people like me, I’ve seen people like him many times before, but it’s just his mind I have to conquer in the ring,” said Joshua in media reports.
Ngannou(17-3-0, 12KOs) an MMA fighter from Cameroon, stunned Fury in a close loss on his professional boxing debut last year, and he hopes to do it again against Joshua.
“I’m going to fight him, so what do you think I’m going to do? I’m going to look for his chin. That’s what happens in the fight. In the fight you try to hit somebody in the chin or wherever you can hit them,” said Ngannou in media reports.
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