By Victor Kanayo
Great Britain’s Anthony Joshua will face MMA fighter Francis Ngannou in a heavyweight contest on March 8, 2024, in Saudi Arabia.
The fight will take place on a Friday to avoid a clash with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix which is due to be held in Jeddah, the next day.
Joshua, 34, had previously described a potential bout with Cameroon-born Ngannou as a “gimmick fight”.
The 37-year-old former UFC champion only made his professional boxing debut in October, when he knocked down Tyson Fury before losing a close decision.
Joshua and Ngannou had met at a news conference on Monday night in London.
Former UFC heavyweight king Ngannou stunned the boxing world last year when he sent the undefeated Fury to the canvas with a left hook.
The 35-year-old Briton, who recovered to win the 10-round bout by split decision, will fight Oleksandr Usyk on 17 February for the right to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 1999.
Fury is the WBC champion, with Ukraine’s Usyk, 36, holding the WBA, WBO and IBF belts.
Saudi organisers were intent on hosting Joshua v Deontay Wilder on March 9, but the American’s points defeat by Joseph Parker on December 23, 2023, scuppered those plans.
Joshua stopped Otto Wallin on the same card and organisers were determined to find a bout for the Watford fighter on the same weekend the Wilder showdown had been pencilled in for.