Lineal heavyweight MMA champion Francis Ngannou will once again step into a boxing ring.
This time Francis Ngannou will stand across from former two-time boxing champion Anthony Joshua.
The 10 round bout is scheduled for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Mar. 9.
Ariel Helwani first reported the news on X Friday afternoon. According to Helwani, a press conference to formally announce the fight and begin the promotional cycle will take place in London later in the month.
This marks the former UFC heavyweight king’s return to the sweet science after shocking the world with a standout performance against undefeated champion Tyson Fury in October.
Despite entering the ring as a +800 underdog, Francis Ngannou gave Fury all that he could handle for the entirety of their 10 round “Battle of the Baddest” main event. Out landing the “Gypsy King” in power punches and dropping him in the third round, the split scorecards in favor of Fury were considered among the most controversial of 2023.
Also Read: 2023’s Most Important UFC/MMA Stories
Nearly a year ago, Francis Ngannou was stripped of the UFC heavyweight title and released from the promotion after failing to agree to terms to continue his reign with a super fight against longtime light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Prior to that, Ngannou spent a year on the shelf rehabbing a knee injury after defeating former training partner Ciryl Gane by unanimous decision at UFC 270.
Joshua is riding high after a stellar 2023 in which he earned three victories with two finishes. In his most recent showing in the main event of the star studded “Day of Reckoning” card, “AJ” battered Otto Wallin in the fifth frame, prompting a corner stoppage.
When Will Francis Ngannou Make His PFL Debut?
Ngannou, who is signed with the PFL as an MMA fighter, is expected to make his promotional debut later in the year.
In an interview shortly after Ngannou’s bout with Fury, PFL founder Donn Davis said that a pure MMA fight with anyone outside of Jon Jones would “not be that interesting right now.” He also stated that the company was targeting either March or December for the Cameroonian to enter the Smart Cage.
Ngannou was previously linked to a proposed mixed rules bout with Deontay Wilder.