Anthony Joshua next fight: All we know about AJ’s next opponent former UFC champion and ex-Tyson Fury rival Francis Ngannou


Anthony Joshua is starting to look back to his best and is now set for a huge bout against Francis Ngannou on Friday night.

AJ turned in a top display to stop Otto Walin in Saudi Arabia just before Christmas to make it three wins from three since successive defeats against Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua was in fine form against Wallin


Joshua was in fine form against WallinCredit: Getty

The plan was for Joshua to face Deontay Wilder should he beat Joseph Parker, but the American lost via unanimous decision to leave those plans in tatters.

So now Joshua will take on a former UFC superstar this week…

AJ next fight: Is his next opponent confirmed?

Yes, Joshua’s next bout is confirmed.

The plan was for Joshua and Wilder to win their respective fights to set up a huge event in March between the two former world champions.

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The deal between the two camps was all but agreed, but after Wilder’s defeat, those plans are ruined.

Instead, a date with former UFC champion Ngannou was agreed.

The giant Cameroonian has only fought one professional boxing match against Tyson Fury, where he knocked the undefeated heavyweight down before losing via split decision.

Ngannou was expected to be battered by Fury, but he stunned the world, and to many, won the fight.

And he will now face AJ in what should be an explosive clash.

Ngannou will be Joshua's next opponent


Ngannou will be Joshua’s next opponentCredit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom

AJ next fight: When will it happen?

Joshua will face Ngannou on Friday, March 8 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The ten-round heavyweight fight will take place at the Kingdom Arena.

It was set to be on the Saturday, but because of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, it will be held the day before instead.

Timings for this event have now been confirmed with the undercard action starting at 3:20pm UK time.

The ring-walks for the main event can then be expected from 11pm.

Joshua is hoping to continue his momentum in 2024


Joshua is hoping to continue his momentum in 2024Credit: Getty

AJ next fight: What’s been said?

Joshua has been speaking about how facing Ngannou is ‘serious’ and that his inexperienced opponent is a real challenge for him.

He said: “I was watching the Fury and Ngannou fight from home and from what I saw I thought he won.

“It’s not a gimmick, it’s not something that’s benefiting the broadcasters, it’s not just a fight for entertainment purposes.

“This is a serious fight with someone who is prepared and understands the dynamic of boxing and he’s putting up a good fight against the apparently generational great. So, I look at it now as something completely different.

“To be classified as a world-class heavyweight I would say that you have to stay there for a period of time. But I think that he’s an athlete with a lot of potential.

“I think he should stay in boxing in my opinion, he’s got great potential to make waves.”

AJ vs Ngannou is set for this Friday in Riyadh


AJ vs Ngannou is set for this Friday in RiyadhCredit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom

However, Simon Jordan isn’t too happy with Joshua’s decision to take on Ngannou.

Speaking to talkSPORT, he said: “I have the same disdain for the fight.

“I understand the genesis for it. I understand the reasons why. This is what Saudi want. If Saudi is going to be the new financial capital of boxing, then this is what it looks like.

“They think that MMA fighters, that have had one fight [and] been ridiculously ranked as #10 in the WBC rankings, is now a viable way for boxing to generate interest.

“I think it’s sad. I understand why Anthony Joshua is taking the fight. I understood why Tyson Fury took the fight. Because the economics are so significant that you take these fights.”



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