Joshua eyes undisputed heavyweight title ahead of Ngannou fight

Anthony Joshua will face ex-MMA fighter Francis Ngannou in a heavyweight fight in Saudi Arabia on March 8.

Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou faced off during the press conference in London [Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters]Published On 16 Jan 202416 Jan 2024

Anthony Joshua says he is hoping a fight against ex-mixed martial arts fighter Francis Ngannou will lead to a shot at becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Former heavyweight world champion Joshua will face Ngannou in just his second professional bout in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on March 8.

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Three weeks before that fight, Tyson Fury takes Oleksandr Usyk in Riyadh for the right to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 1999.

Joshua won all three of his fights in 2023 as he bids to return to the top of the heavyweight division, with his most impressive performance coming in a fifth-round stoppage of Otto Wallin last month.

Cameroon-born Ngannou only made his professional boxing debut in October, when he knocked down WBC champion Fury before losing a close decision.

“Every fight leads to somewhere, so this fight is my everything and we will see where it leads me,” said Joshua as the fighters faced off at a press conference in London.

“I have got to take his mind and his spirit, it will be explosive. We can both trade and it will be a good fight.”

Ngannou questions Joshua’s chin

Ngannou almost delivered an upset when he dropped Fury to the canvas with a left hook in that fight.

“I heard that he doesn’t have a chin,” Ngannou said of Britain’s two-time world champion Joshua.

“I don’t know if it’s true or not. We’re going to find out. I hope I have the opportunity to test that out, that’s my wish.”

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn did not hide from his ambitions for the former Olympic champion.

“If you can imagine the winner of this fight against the winner of Fury v Usyk, it’s been a long dream of Anthony and his team to be undisputed.”

Former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou has another shot at one of the biggest names in the sport after nearly ending Fury’s unbeaten record.

“I’m going to come as an underdog to win the fight. I will get this done, I’m just a beginner,” said Ngannou.

“I will come out better and that’s how I see things. I prepared for a hard fight. The Fury fight is in the past and I will take this more serious than before because there’s more on the line, the undisputed.

“I will do something nobody has done before and I have the tools to do that. It will not be an easy fight, but a possible one (to win).”

Both Joshua’s victory over Wallin and Ngannou’s surprise showing against Fury also took place in the Saudi capital.

Source: News Agencies