April 23, 2024

Pathfinder News

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Boxing:Francis Ngannou Fights Anthony Joshua In Saudi Arabia

Francis Ngannou had perhaps the best loss in a professional debut boxing has ever seen. Now he gets Anthony Joshua.

The former UFC heavyweight champion will face the former unified heavyweight champion in a 10-round match Friday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, five months after Ngannou earned the boxing world’s respect with a split decision loss to WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

Ngannou entered that Fury match as a heavy underdog against the champion — one promoter called the matchup “a disgrace” — but he differentiated himself from the many MMA fighters-turned-boxers with a performance that wouldn’t have looked out of place from a seasoned heavyweight contender. He managed to knock down Fury in the third round and had the crowd chanting his name in the final round.

The Cameroonian is once again an underdog against Joshua, but a much closer one at +230 on BetMGM (he was +800 versus Fury).

Meanwhile, Joshua arrives at this fight at an interesting point in his career. It has been 2 1/2 years since he lost his titles to Oleksandr Usyk and 18 months since he fell in the rematch. He has since reeled off three consecutive wins over Jermaine Franklin, Robert Helenius and Otto Wallin, but will likely have to wait a while if he ever wants another title shot. For now, he’s gets boxing’s newest rising star in Ngannou and the payday that comes with it.

The co-main event features an intriguing matchup between WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang and Joseph Parker. WBC featherweight champion Rey Vargas faces undefeated prospect Nick Ball on the undercard