Anthony Joshua confirms different date for Francis Ngannou showdown in Saudi Arabia

Joshua and Ngannou will collide on 8 March (Picture: Getty)

Anthony Joshua says his showdown with former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou will be taking place on a Friday night in Saudi Arabia.

Fresh from a dominant victory over Otto Wallin in December, the two-time heavyweight champion will return to Riyadh in March to meet Ngannou.

Joshua had agreed to fight Deontay Wilder that month only for those plans to be derailed following the American’s shock defeat to Joseph Parker on 23 December.

Joshua will instead meet Ngannou, who performed brilliantly on his boxing debut against Tyson Fury in October, knocking down ‘The Gypsy King’ in the third round before losing a tight decision on the judges’ scorecards.

Their fight was widely reported to be scheduled for 9 March on a regular Saturday night slot. But Joshua appears to have confirmed the show will take place the night before on Friday 8 March.

A Friday night billing will avoid any potential clash with UFC 299, with a stacked card scheduled for Saturday in Florida.

Another huge show in Saudi is expected to be assembled, taking place less than a month after the historic undisputed title showdown between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.

Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou

Ngannou gave Fury a major scare in October (Picture: Getty)

Wilder could have the chance to bounce back from that defeat against Parker with a fight against Zhilei Zhang being discussed for the undercard.

It is also possible both men could feature on the card in separate fights.

On what promises to be another hugely lucrative night, Parker is also keen to join the card, insisting he has ‘said yes’ to every name put forward to him.

‘I would love to fight in March. They have already given me the indication that there is a possibility that I could be fighting on that card,’ Parker told talkSPORT.

‘Listen, I am training every day, working hard, eating clean, and just enjoying rest time – but I know there is a fight looming very soon. All those names that have been chucked at us, we’ve said yes to every one of them.

‘I think it’s good to say yes and offer these fights, but there’s things that happen behind the scenes that we have to work on, in terms of negotiations. Every name like Zhang, Hrgovic or anyone – whatever they’ve said we’ve said yes to.’

British heavyweight Joe Joyce, looking to bounce back after two defeats to Zhang in  2023, has also expressed interest in fighting on that March show.

Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou showdown in Saudi Arabia confirmed

MORE : Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury, Artur Beterbiev vs Dmitry Bivol and more: The fights we want to see in 2024… and one we can avoid

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