Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou: Heavyweight Fight Set For 8 March In Saudi Arabia

Great Britain’s Anthony Joshua will face MMA fighter Francis Ngannou in a heavyweight contest on 8 March in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua, 34, had previously described a potential bout with Cameroon-born Ngannou as a “gimmick fight”.

The 37-year-old former UFC champion only made his professional boxing debut in October, when he knocked down Tyson Fury before losing a close decision.

Joseph Parker leads the undercard against China’s Zhilei Zhang.

Also on the undercard is Briton Nick Ball, who faces Rey Vargas for the WBC featherweight title in his first world-title bout.

Former UFC heavyweight king Ngannou stunned the boxing world last year when he sent the undefeated Fury to the canvas with a left hook.

The 35-year-old Briton, who recovered to win the 10-round bout by split decision, will fight Oleksandr Usyk on 17 February for the right to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 1999.

Fury is the WBC champion, with Ukraine’s Usyk, 36, holding the WBA, WBO and IBF belts.

Saudi organisers were intent on hosting Joshua v Deontay Wilder on 9 March, but the American’s points defeat by Parker on 23 December scuppered those plans.

Joshua v Ngannou will take place on a Friday to avoid a clash with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix which is due to be held in Jeddah on Saturday, 9 March.

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