London, UK (January 5, 2024) - Anthony Joshua is apparently set to face an MMA fighter in a 10-round heavyweight 'boxing match' in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Confirmed by Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, Joshua's promoter, with a press conference slated for Jan. 15 in London to reveal more details.
The proposed opponent is Francis Ngannou who has no amateur experience and is winless in professional boxing with a record of 0-1. While his boxing record may not shine, he gained some fame by appearing to trouble Lineal Heavyweight Champion Tyson fury in a 'special event' which took place last year.
In contrast, Joshua, a former two-time unified world heavyweight champion, is on a redemption arc following consecutive losses to Oleksandr Usyk. His impressive resurgence in a December victory against Otto Wallin, securing a fifth-round stoppage, has reignited his momentum. Initially eyeing a showdown with Deontay Wilder, Joshua's path now seems directed at the novelty Ngannou following Wilder's recent loss to Joseph Parker on the same fight card.
On paper, the matchup might seem improbable given the opponent's lack of boxing experience against Joshua's decorated career. Sanctioning such a contest would be unthinkable under normal conditions, however these conditions are far from normal.