Why is Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou taking place on a Friday night?

The pair meet in a heavyweight showdown in Saudi Arabia on Friday rather than the typical Saturday night timing for a major boxing event

Lawrence Ostlere
Friday 08 March 2024 16:05 GMT
Francis Ngannou and Tyson Fury in heated exchange at press conference

Anthony Joshua comes to blows with Francis Ngannou tonight in Saudi Arabia for their highly anticpiated heavyweight showdown.

Joshua and ex-MMA world champion Ngannou headline a stacked card dubbed “Knockout Chaos” in Riyadh, which also features Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang against Joseph Parker.

The 34-year-old Joshua is at a pivotal point in his career as he bids to restore his status as a world title contender following humbling back-to-back defeats by Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and 2022.

Since then, Joshua has beaten Jermaine Franklin, Robert Helenius and Otto Wallin to begin rebuilding his reputation. He was due to fight fellow ex-world champion Deontay Wilder next, until the American fell to a surprising defeat by Parker on the same night Joshua crushed Wallin in Saudi in December.

That led Joshua to Ngannou, who is fighting in only his second boxing match ever but who impressed so much on his debut in October when he knocked down Tyson Fury only to lose a controversial decision.

The Cameroonian fighter showed just how dangerous he can be to far more experienced heavyweights when he shook Fury, and he has plenty of backers coming into this bout against Joshua, who effectively has his future as a top-tier fighter on the line.

Why is the fight taking place on a Friday night?

Most showpiece boxing events are scheduled for Saturday nights but this one is different, with Joshua taking on Ngannou on a Friday, and expected to take to the ring at around 11pm GMT.

It is taking place on a Friday night so as not to clash with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which began with practice on Thursday and concludes with the race itself on Saturday.

F1 races typically take place on Sunday, but this race was brought forward a day so as not to collide with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins this Sunday.

Full fight card

subject to change

Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou (heavyweight)

Zhilei Zhang (C) vs Joseph Parker (WBO interim heavyweight title)

Rey Vargas (C) vs Nick Ball (WBC featherweight title)

Israel Madrimov vs Magomed Kurbanov (vacant WBA super-welterweight title)

Gavin Gwynne vs Mark Chamberlain (lightweight)

Justis Huni vs Kevin Lerena (heavyweight)

Mark Chamberlain vs Gavin Gwynne (lightweight)

Jack McGann vs Louis Greene (super-welterweight)

Roman Fury vs Martin Svarc (heavyweight)

Ziyad Almaayouf vs Christian Lopez Flores (super-lightweight)

Andrii Novytskyi vs Juan Torres (heavyweight)

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