Francis Ngannou will return to the squared circle later this year for a big-money fight with former unified heavyweight boxing world champion, Anthony Joshua.
The news comes less than three months removed from Ngannou’s critically acclaimed boxing debut against reigning WBC titleholder Tyson Fury. ‘The Predator’ sent shockwaves through the sport when he sent ‘The Gypsy King’ crashing to the canvas in the third-round of their 10-round tussle. In the end, Fury walked away with a win on two of the three judge’s scorecards, though the split decision came with a heaping dose of controversy.
Still, Ngannou’s performance was good enough to land him at No. 10 on the WBC’s official heavyweight rankings.
Renowned MMA journalist and host of The MMA Hour, Ariel Helwani, broke the news of Ngannou’s sophomore boxing appearance on social media.
“Massive breaking news on this Friday evening in the world of combat sports,” Helwani said. “I have confirmed via Mr. Turki Alalshikh that it is a done deal. That it is going down. Francis Ngannou, the former UFC heavyweight champion is returning to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia just a few months removed from his incredible performance against Tyson Fury. After an unbelievable year where he leaves the UFC, signs with the PFL, and then he gets the big Tyson fight and shocks everyone.
“He is returning to action in a boxing match later on this year to go up against the former heavyweight champion. The man who had an incredible 2023 in his own right. The man who just won at Day of Reckoning on December 23 in Riyadh, the one and only Anthony Joshua. It is a done deal on both ends. Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou. 10-round fight later on this year in Riyadh.”
Francis Ngannou vs. Anthony Joshua is a done deal, per @Turki_alalshikh.
Ten-round boxing match in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 5, 2024
Helwani also revealed that there will be a press conference later this month in London to announce the official date.
Anthony Joshua is fresh off a big fifth-round TKO against Otto Wallin in Riyadh last month. It was his third straight victory of 2023 after earning a unanimous decision W against Jermaine Franklin and a highlight-reel-worthy knockout of Robert Helenius in the seventh round of their August showdown in The Big Smoke.