Former unified world heavyweight champion Joshua is expected to share the ring with Ngannou, a former UFC champion, after the planned fight was announced by promotional teams Matchroom and Queensberry on Friday night.
A press conference has been scheduled on January 15 to reveal more details, with reports suggesting that Joshua will face Ngannou on Friday March 8 in Riyadh.
Joshua continued his quest to return to the top of the heavyweight division with a dominant five-round win over Otto Wallin on December 23 but expectations that he would next face Deontay Wilder evaporated when the American lost to Joseph Parker on the same card.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou knocked down Tyson Fury in his first professional boxing bout last October, although the latter still won a split decision, and is now ranked in the WBC’s top 10 of heavyweight contenders.
Speaking after his impressive win against Wallin, Joshua declared: “I’m down to fight anyone. Whenever and whoever.”
Filip Hrgovic, the IBF mandatory challenger, and Zhilei Zhang were also being considered as potential opponents for Joshua’s next fight.
Saudi Arabia will again stage a major heavyweight fight, just weeks after Fury takes on Oleksandr Usyk in an undisputed world title fight on February 17.
‘NGANNOU A GOOD FIGHT FOR AJ’
The Sun’s Charlie Wyett says Francis Ngannou will provide Anthony Joshua with a good test, after their 10-round fight was confirmed in Saudi Arabia later this year.
Reacting to the news of the fight on Back Pages Tonight on Sky Sports News, The Sun’s Charlie Wyett said: “I think so [that it’s the right opponent]
“He was obviously hoping it was going to be Deontay Wilder but because of what happened with his fight they have lined this opponent up. It’s a process that’s going to take a while.
“It’s a good fight for him [Joshua], it’s probably going to be on March 9, with the press conference in a few days’ time.
“I think that’s one thing we’re going to have to get used to now for many years to come that all these fights are going to be in Saudi Arabia now.
“But it’s not a surprise that they’ve fixed up a fight for around that time.”