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  • Tarrian Rodgers

Francis Ngannou and Anthony Joshua agree to clash in Riyadh

Anthony Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) was due for a mega fight. The original plan was for Joshua to finally square off against longtime rival Deontay Wilder. However, those plans were axed after Wilder suffered an upset defeat against Joseph Parker two days before Christmas. 

This loss set the boxing world back and it meant that Joshua was scrambling for a dance partner on that empty March 8th date from Riyadh, Turki Alalshikh. Joshua now has an opponent and it's no other than former UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou. Ngannou, 36, made his professional boxing debut in shocking fashion when he floored heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in October in Riyadh en route to a split-decision loss. Now, Ngannou (0-1) will prepare to prove the performance was no fluke against yet another British boxing star. Unsurprisingly, early betting odds have Joshua as a significant lists Joshua as a -500 favorite, with Ngannou coming in as a +325 underdog.

The Ngannou and Joshua bout will have important stakes for both men. With Olysendar Usyk meeting Tyson Fury on Feb. 17 in Riyadh for the undisputed heavyweight championship, a bout that includes a two-way rematch clause.The winner of Joshua-Ngannou is likely to be well-positioned for a future clash against whoever emerges from Fury-Usyk with the titles.The match will be a 10 round bout. 

The card could get more packed with the addition of Deontay Wilder. Wilder could face current WBO interim Zhilei Zhang.  Zhang (26-1-1) could be a tall order for Wilder as Wilder looked terrible his last fight and Zhang is currently a prime champion. Boxing’s heavyweight division will certainly be hot coming into the new year.

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