Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou are finally set to meet in the boxing ring on March 8th in Saudi Arabia, in one of the most highly anticipated heavyweight clashes in years. Both fighters and their teams met today in Saudi Arabia for the first official face-off to promote the bout.
Fight Confirmed for March 8th
After months of negotiations, Eddie Hearn and the involved parties officially announced the Joshua-Ngannou fight date and location. The bout will take place on March 8th at the Jeddah Super Dome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Tickets are expected to sell out fast for the event.
Joshua and Ngannou both took shots at each other during the first press conference. Ngannou stated “I’m going to exploit Anthony’s weaknesses and target his chin. He won’t know what hit him.” Meanwhile, Joshua promised to give Ngannou “a proper boxing lesson”.
Win Could Lead to Undisputed Title Fight
In a blockbuster announcement, Eddie Hearn revealed that the winner of Joshua-Ngannou is likely to face the winner of Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk in a unification bout for the undisputed heavyweight championship. Usyk currently holds the WBA, IBF and WBO titles while Fury holds the WBC belt.
Joshua in particular has targeted using the Ngannou fight to catapult himself into position for another shot at the undisputed crown. After previously losing his titles to Usyk in 2021, Joshua sees this as his road back to the top.
Breakdown of Joshua-Ngannou Styles
As a former UFC heavyweight champion, Ngannou is known for his incredible knockout power and vicious strikes. He holds the record for the most knockout wins in UFC history. However, this will be Ngannou’s first professional boxing match, which leads some to question his ability to adapt his MMA striking to the realm of boxing.
Joshua on the other hand is an experienced boxer and former heavyweight champion in his own right. He possesses excellent technical skills and has fought far superior boxers than anyone Ngannou has faced. However, Joshua has shown vulnerability, most recently in his loss to Usyk. He will need to avoid Ngannou’s brutal power punches.
|Technical skills, experience
|Raw power, athleticism
Ngannou’s coach Eric Nicksick has stated they plan to exploit Joshua’s vulnerable chin, much like Usyk did. Meanwhile, Joshua and his team are confident Ngannou’s lack of boxing skill will be his downfall.
Lead Up to the Fight
Rumors of a Joshua-Ngannou boxing match have swirled since 2021 when Ngannou was engaged in a contract dispute with the UFC. After failed negotiations for a new deal, Ngannou departed the UFC as champion this past December, freeing him up to box.
The 27-5 Joshua was initially in talks for a rematch with longtime rival Tyson Fury. However, when those talks stalled, Hearn and Joshua pivoted their focus to making a Ngannou clash, enticed also by a massive site fee offer from Saudi Arabia.
Both Joshua and Ngannou stand to make career-high paydays from this fight. Joshua is expected to earn around $100 million dollars, while Ngannou will also net a massive check, likely in excess of the $6 million he earned against his last UFC opponent.
Undercard and PPV Details
The main card for March 8th includes several other quality matchups, providing fans extra bang for their buck:
- Callum Smith vs. Mathieu Bauderlique (light heavyweight)
- Badou Jack vs. Richard Rivera (cruiserweight)
- Ramla Ali vs. Crystal Garcia Nova (women’s super bantamweight)
The event will be carried live on DAZN pay-per-view in the United States and the United Kingdom for the price of $69.99 USD. Given the magnitude of the Joshua-Ngannou clash, the event is expected to draw a massive number of PPV buys, likely exceeding one million.
The Road Ahead
With a unification fight on the horizon, the stakes could not be higher for Joshua and Ngannou. A loss for either man would be devastating and set their careers back years. Meanwhile, a dominant win could re-establish one as the top dog in the heavyweight division.
For Ngannou, his performance in this fight will likely determine whether he continues with his boxing dreams or ultimately returns to MMA. Joshua however might have his last chance to recapture his former glory and reclaim his belts.
One thing is for certain — the eyes of the combat sports world will be fixated firmly on Saudi Arabia come March 8th. With a legendary showdown and so much on the line, the winner may cement himself as the baddest man on the planet.
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