Ex-UFC Champ Francis Ngannou Releases First Statement Following News of His Boxing Fight with Anthony Joshua

Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou released his first statement following the announcement of his blockbuster return to the boxing ring.

On Friday (January 5), renowned combat sports journalist and The MMA Hour host, Ariel Helwani, broke the news that Ngannou would make his sophomore appearance inside the squared circle this year against former unified heavyweight world champion, Anthony Joshua.

The news comes less than three months removed from Ngannou’s sensational pro boxing debut against Tyson Fury in Riyadh.

“Massive breaking news on this Friday evening in the world of combat sports,” Helwani said. “I have confirmed via Mr. Turki Alalshikh that it is a done deal. That it is going down. Francis Ngannou, the former UFC heavyweight champion is returning to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia just a few months removed from his incredible performance against Tyson Fury. After an unbelievable year where he leaves the UFC, signs with the PFL, and then he gets the big Tyson fight and shocks everyone.

“He is returning to action in a boxing match later on this year to go up against the former heavyweight champion. The man who had an incredible 2023 in his own right. The man who just won at Day of Reckoning on December 23 in Riyadh, the one and only Anthony Joshua. It is a done deal on both ends. Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou. 10-round fight later on this year in Riyadh.”

Francis Ngannou Ready to Make ‘Big Moves’ in 2024

Despite coming up short against ‘The Gypsy King’ via split decision, Ngannou’s critically acclaimed performance was strong enough to land him on the No. 10 spot of the WBC’s heavyweight top ten.

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Taking to social media shortly after the news broke, Ngannou shared his excitement over what is to come writing: “Making big moves in the new year. 2024 is going to be [fire emoji].”

No official date has been announced, but Helwani added that a press conference will go down in London later this month where more details regarding the highly anticipated clash will be revealed.

Anthony Joshua is coming off his third-straight win of 2023, earning a dominant fifth-round knockout of Otto Wallin at the Day of Reckoning card in Saudi Arabia. Prior, he scored a unanimous decision victory over Jermaine Franklin followed by a seventh-round KO against Robert Helenius, both emanating from the O2 Arena.

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Overall, Joshua is 27-3 in his boxing career with 24 of his wins coming by way of knockout.