Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou Press Conference to announce upcoming fight in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 8th March 2023. 15 January 2024 Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou face off.
Anthony Joshua:
“Every fight leads to somewhere, so this fight is my everything; my soul, my spirit, my mind, my body. We’ll see where it leads me, right now, I’m not thinking about any championship belts, or anything. My main focus is Francis, realistically, it’s getting through an intense, focused training camp, because how I train is how I fight. If I get victory in my training camp I am sure I get victory on the night. We’ll put the belts on hold because my focus is on getting through training camp and getting to the fight successfully.
(On Ben Davison) “It’s really good working with him and the whole team at the academy. They have helped a lot. I still speak a lot with Derrick James in the States, but being home and having someone just as good, I’m just searching for greatness really. Continuously searching for greatness, how to elevate myself, push forward in every aspect of my game, and this is just another challenge and during each challenge I find out so much about myself. Even though I already know who I am, I know I am going to discover new things about myself and things that can take me to new heights. 
“He brings two arms, a body, like every other fighter does. But it’s his mind that is different. Everyone has their own unique mind. In terms of the frame and make up, I’ve seen people like him and he’s seen people like me many times before, but it’s his mind that I have to conquer in the ring. You have to take their soul and spirit, and I am looking for the challenge for sure, it’s going to be good, explosive. There’s many ways to skin a cat, I can counter-punch, he can counter-punch. We can both box, we can both trade, it’s going to be a good fight – and shout out to His Excellency, my promoter, my team at 258 for getting me in this position to showcase why I am the top Heavyweight in the UK. I’m not really concerned about the world, I’m trying to conquer where I live and make everyone know that I am the one that puts boxing on the map.”
Francis Ngannou:
“Thank you to my brother, His Excellency, for once again putting me in this position to live my dream and have all those great experiences like I had in Riyadh two months ago, it was amazing. Hopefully this will be the same thing.
“I’ve been sitting here and listening to people talking and even Eddie praising me, and I appreciate that, but at the same time, I am not sure if he wants me to sleep on his guy – but that’s not going to happen. I am just a beginner out here that’s going to train really hard and do everything as the underdog to win the fight. 
“I don’t take my last fight as a reference, I know exactly where I am at, I’m going to get better and better and that’s how I see things. I’m preparing for a tough fight, the Fury fight was great, but that’s in the past and I have a new challenge in front of me, and I take it more serious now than before because now I think there’s something more on the line, which is probably the Undisputed fight. So let’s see, I will do something that no-one has done before and I believe I have the tools to do that, starting with having the win over ‘AJ’ on March 8 in a big fight – not an easy fight, but a possible one and I am going to take it.
“I’m going to fight him, so what do you think I am going to do? I will look for his chin. That’s what you do in a fight, you try to hit someone on the chin or wherever to try to hurt him. I heard he doesn’t have a chin, I don’t know if it’s true or not, we’re going to find out and I hope that I have the opportunity to test that – that’s my wish.”
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:
“Just to echo what Frank said, our thanks to the Crown Prince and of course, His Excellency. I likened this earlier, the whole experience, to Football Manager. Imagine being the biggest fan in boxing and having the ability to sit in a room and put fights together at the drop of a hat that the fans want to see. In just five months we’ve seen Fury vs. Ngannou, The Day of Reckoning, Fury vs. Usyk and ‘AJ’ vs. Ngannou, and so much more to come. This is such an incredible opportunity for boxing and it’s being delivered by someone that has an incredible passion for the sport, someone that’s unbelievably knowledgeable. I thought Ngannou and Fury was going to be a mismatch, and His Excellency told me I would be wrong. I said Callum Smith was going to beat Artur Beterbiev and he told me I was wrong. It shows he knows his boxing.
“I met Francis under a year ago in Las Vegas where he told me about his ambition to be in big boxing events. A guy with an unbelievable story, a very strong mind, but if I’m honest, I didn’t take him seriously. I have never known anyone to walk into a sport and compete and, in my opinion, and it was close, beat Tyson that night. It’s never been done before, and he might be unlucky that he’s not sitting here as the World Lineal Heavyweight champion on his professional debut.
“So now, we take him very seriously, and after that fight that we give him unbelievable props for, I said that the biggest fight out there outside of Fury vs. Usyk, is Joshua vs. Ngannou. We had signed the Joshua vs. Ngannou fight and as soon as that show finished on December 23, His Excellency said to myself and Frank, ‘we need to talk – what is the biggest event we can do on March 8?’ The answer was this and in my opinion you have the two biggest fights in the Heavyweight division happening within three weeks of each other in Saudi Arabia. It’s an incredible opportunity. For ‘AJ’, there’s big jeopardy in this fight. I truly believe he’s going to be the Undisputed Heavyweight champion, but he’s doing it the difficult way, going through what some might call immovable objects in the giant of a man to my left. The former UFC Heavyweight World champion, but now, a guy we take very, very seriously in the sport of boxing. ‘AJ’ is on a roll, he’s with a great team, and we cannot wait. This is a dream opportunity for the sport and we’re all so invested to give the fans incredible nights.”
Frank Warren, Founder of Queensberry Promotions:
“This is the fourth event of the Riyadh season and if it wasn’t for His Excellency and his team, the support of Riyadh Season and Saudi Arabia, these fights just would not be happening. That’s a fact. He has been instrumental in making these and previous fights happen, and instrumental in getting Eddie and myself sitting at the same table. We’ve just made another bog fight happen, his best against my best, we’ll make that event happen. This is just what boxing fans have crying out for, begging for us to make to make the fights which sometimes have not been financially viable to make, but now it’s changed. It’s happening so fast, and it’s one after the other, great fights, with fantastic undercards, it just keeps coming and coming and coming. We’re in the golden age of boxing, without a doubt, and if anyone doesn’t want to be on board then they are a fool. I’m very disappointed that Oscar De La Hoya should say what he said, he should know better than that; this is great for the sport. The fights are happening. And it’s down to His Excellency and his team, and at my age, I’m 72 next month, and I’ve never seen or been involved with anything like this in boxing. This is just brilliant, and if you are a boxing fan, you are in boxing heaven. So from me personally, and I think from everyone in boxing, thank you your Excellency for everything you’ve done to make these events happen.
“Prior to the fight with Tyson and Ngannou, I genuinely, genuinely thought it would be a tough fight for a short period of time but thought that Tyson would get the better of him and win the fight very early on. But it turned out that Francis brought something to the boxing ring that I never expected, and that was that he could actually box. We knew he was a tough competitor, we knew he could punch, we knew he’s going to be a handful on the inside because that’s the way that MMA fighters fight, but he was more than that. He was a switch-hitter, he got his timing right, and he put Tyson through one of the toughest fights he’s been through in a long, long time. He put him on the floor, I will say I thought Tyson had an off-night and came through it all, but this guy making his debut like that surprised everybody. I take my hat off to ‘AJ’ for taking this fight because he’s fighting someone that, OK there’s video footage now and you can see what he’s done in a boxing ring which Tyson didn’t have the benefit of, but what has Francis learned? Is he going to be a better fighter? I think for ‘AJ’ he’s in a tough fight, it’s Knockout Chaos because they both have bombs ion their hands, and it will be interesting to see how the fight develops. I think it will be explosive and for the winner, the big fight is happening on February 17 with Tyson and Usyk, and would we like to see them with the winner of this fight? Everyone in boxing would love to see it.”
Dewey Cooper (trainer of Francis Ngannou):
“The Tyson Fury fight was no surprise to us. We told you all from day one what was going to happen. The same thing applies here. We expect fire, but at the end of the day, the flaming fists of Francis will finish ‘AJ’ on March 8 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.”
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