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Joshua, Ngannou battle for supremacy in Saudi Arabia

Tonight the world will see a massive boxing matchup from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that has potential heavyweight title implications. Former undisputed heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua (27-3) will be taking on former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (17-3 MMA) (0-1 Boxing).

It’s honestly crazy to think about how we got to this fight today. In January 2022, Francis Ngannou successfully defended his UFC title against Ciryl Gane with a torn ACL and spent the year trying to work out a deal with the UFC. After they failed to come to a deal, Ngannou was set free in January 2023.

A sticking point with Ngannou and the UFC was Ngannou’s desire to box. Dana White openly didn’t think that Ngannou’s dreams and aspirations to fight the likes of Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua were realistic. Ngannou ultimately signed with the PFL who gave him the green light to explore those matchups. Last October, his dream became a reality when he boxed the heavyweight king Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia.

No one gave Ngannou a chance against The Gypsy King. However, Ngannou has built a life around proving people wrong. The former UFC champion dropped Fury in the matchup and took him to a split decision. I thought he won the matchup but two judges gave the fight to Fury. The performance was so impressive that Ngannou is now ranked as the 10th best boxer in the world by the WBC.

From there, Ngannou was angling to get a matchup with fellow heavyweight knockout artist Deontay Wilder. Wilder fought Joseph Parker the same night Anthony Joshua took on Otto Wallin back in December. The goal was to have Wilder and Joshua fight however, they both needed to win. While Joshua did his part scoring a fifth round corner stoppage TKO, Deontay Wilder fumbled the bag and lost a lopsided decision to Parker. With that a boxing matchup between Joshua and Ngannou came together shortly after.

Entering 2019, Anthony Joshua was boxing’s P4P heavyweight king. He was undefeated and he was on top of the world. Then, he was knocked out by Andy Ruiz. He bounced back and defeated Ruiz in the rematch, but following another win, he lost two straight to current heavyweight champ Oleksandr Usyk.

Following those two losses, Joshua has bounced back strong with three straight wins including two knockouts. He looks better than he has in years and he’s incredibly focused on regaining the heavyweight title. That said, he has a very unique challenge in front of him tomorrow night.

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