Boxing: Anthony Joshua to square off with ex-UFC champion Francis Ngannou in blockbuster boxing showdown

Francis Ngannou and Anthony Joshua.
Francis Ngannou and Anthony Joshua. Photo credit: Getty Images

Brit boxing star Anthony Joshua will take on former UFC world champion Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia on March 10 (NZ time).

Promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed the two will square off in Riyadh in a 10-round boxing contest, expected to be announced in London later this month.

The ex-heavyweight champion had been originally slated to face Deontay Wilder after his knockout finish of Swede Otto Wallin in Riyadh in December.

But on the same card, Kiwi Joseph Parker spoiled the party with a comprehensive shut-out win over Wilder, which ultimately took the long-awaited clash between Joshua and the American off the table.

Francis Ngannou drops Tyson Fury in his boxing debut.
Francis Ngannou drops Tyson Fury in his boxing debut. Photo credit: Getty Images

Former UFC heavyweight king Ngannou impressed in his professional boxing debut in October, pushing Tyson Fury to the limit before losing a razor-close split decision to the WBC champ.

'The Predator's' performance sent shockwaves through the combat sports world - highlighted by his third-round knockdown of Fury, who is widely considered one of boxing's greatest heavyweights. 

The bout was the Cameroon native's first since his split with the UFC over a pay dispute. He's since signed with rival promotion Professional Fighters League to a non-exclusive deal.

After losing his WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO titles to Oleksandr Usyk in 2020 and 2021, Joshua has showed signs he's returning to his best - reeling off three consecutive wins, most recently forcing a corner stoppage against Wallin.

A rematch with Parker had also been mooted for Joshua's next bout. The South Aucklander became the first fighter to push Joshua the distance when the pair met in Cardiff back in 2018 with the WBA, IBF, IBO, and WBO titles on the line.

Chinese fighter Zhilei Zhang - fresh off consecutive KO finishes of Briton Joe Joyce - has expressed interest in a date against Parker.