Anthony Joshua faces Ngannou in Saudi on March 8

Anthony Joshua will face ex-mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia on March 8.

Former heavyweight world champion Joshua is hoping to build on an impressive fifth-round stoppage of Otto Wallin last month to maintain his bounce back to form.

Cameroonian-born Ngannou only made his professional boxing debut in October, when he knocked down WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury before losing a close decision.

The fighters will face off in a press conference later on Monday in London.

Both Joshua’s victory over Wallin and Ngannou’s surprise showing against Fury took place in the Saudi capital Riyadh, with the oil-rich Gulf Kingdom rapidly becoming the go-to destination for promoters seeking big purses for major bouts.

Fury will also face Oleksandr Usyk in Riyadh on February 17 in a fight that will deliver the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 1999.

Saudi Arabia has lavished billions of dollars on sporting events in recent years, including the right to host the 2034 World Cup, the LIV Golf circuit, a Formula One Grand Prix and football’s Club World Cup.

But the world’s biggest exporter of oil has been accused by its critics of “sportswashing” by using sport to improve its international reputation after widespread criticism for its human rights and environmental record


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