Anthony Joshua expects an “explosive” encounter when he takes on Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia on March 8.
The Briton will go head to head with the MMA star following his impressive fifth-round stoppage of Sweden’s Otto Wallin in December.
Ex-UFC fighter Ngannou, who is now contracted to the Professional Fighters League, made his professional boxing debut against Tyson Fury in October and only narrowly missed out on an unlikely victory, dropping the WBC heavyweight champion in the third round.
“He brings two arms, a body, but his mind is different to everyone else. In terms of his frame and make-up I’ve seen people like him many times before,” Joshua said at a press conference on Monday evening to announce the ‘Knockout Chaos’ show in Riyadh.
On his thoughts when the Ngannou fight was offered, Joshua added: “No problem. Every fight leads to somewhere, so this fight is my everything and we will see where it leads me.
“My main focus is Ngannou and getting through an intense training camp.
“I have got to take his mind and his spirit, it will be explosive. We can both trade and it will be a good fight.”
Joshua won all three of his fights in 2023 as he bids to return to the top of the heavyweight division, but Ngannou is determined to derail that ambition.
Ngannou said: “I’m going to come as an underdog to win the fight. I will get this done, I’m just a beginner.
“I will come out better and that’s how I see things. I prepared for a hard fight. The Fury fight is in the past and I will take this more serious than before because there’s more on the line, the undisputed.
“I will do something nobody has done before and I have the tools to do that. It will not be an easy fight, but a possible one (to win).”
The Joshua-Ngannou fight will take place three weeks after Fury fights Oleksandr Usyk in the same city for the undisputed world heavyweight title.
Promoter Frank Warren said: “This is what boxing fans have been crying out for for years. We are in the golden age of boxing.
“Francis brought something to the ring that I never expected. He can be a handful on the inside, he put Tyson through his toughest fight for a long time.
“I take my hat off to AJ (Joshua) for taking this fight. I think he’s in a tough fight and it will be knockout chaos.”
Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn added: “If you can imagine the winner of this fight against the winner of Fury v Usyk, it’s been a long dream of Anthony and his team to be undisputed.”