Anthony Joshua changed his mind about fighting Francis Ngannou after seeing what he did last October, coming close to defeating the #1 heavyweight in the division, Tyson Fury. That fight altered Joshua’s thinking, making him believe this isn’t a “gimmick” match.

Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) and Ngannou (0-1) will be fighting in less than a month on March 8th in a 10-round fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. AJ isn’t fighting one of the top contenders, but there’s too much at stake for him to turn it down.

The Saudis want this fight, and they’ve set it up so the winner will battle for the undisputed. Granted, it somewhat cheapens it if Joshua is victorious because it would be his fourth consecutive soft touch since his back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk.

Circumstances Change, Minds Change

“They spoke about this fight before, and I said, ‘no, it’s a gimmick fight, it’s not something that I think is right — crossing over when I’m still chasing heavyweight glory,’ Joshua said to DAZN Boxing.

What we don’t know is that Ngannou’s impressive performance against Fury was due to the Gypsy King failing to take the fight seriously and not putting in the hard work that he needed to during training camp.

Fury’s fighting style, which now relies on grappling due to his aging, was perfect for Ngannou to excel against. Trying to wrestle an ex-MMA fighter wasn’t smart for Fury, but again, he’s aged and can’t fight the way he used to when he was younger. He had no choice but to maul Ngannou and hope the judges would give him the decision, and they did.

“And then I think when they saw what happened with his last fight, the situation with Wilder, this opportunity presented itself. I never turned down a challenge, and I’m looking forward to it,” said Joshua about his decision to face Ngannou.

Fans Have Mixed Reactions

People have a mixed reaction to the former two-time heavyweight champion Joshua fighting Ngannou. They feel that Ngannou was selected due to his popularity in the MMA world and that this fight dilutes the sport.

Fans who favor this fight like the idea of seeing fighters from different sports battling it out, and they think it makes it more entertaining than if AJ were to face a boxer.

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