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Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou fight DELAYED as boxing fans around the world demand 'just get on with it!' after Saudi Arabia clash pushed back

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Boxing fans were furious over the delay of Anthony Joshua‘s anticipated return to the ring against Francis Ngannou.

Joshua, the former two-time unified heavyweight champion, was scheduled to face the former UFC titleholder late on Friday night in Saudi Arabia

The highly awaited crossover bout was due to commence at around 11:20pm BST (2:20 am local time).

However, by 11 pm, the co-main event featuring Zhilei Zhang and former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker had yet to begin. 

And it was nearly 3:30am local time – 12:30am in the UK – before Joshua and Ngannou eventually emerged. 

Fans on social media were left furious at the delayed start of Anthony Joshua's fight against Francis Ngannou

Fans on social media were left furious at the delayed start of Anthony Joshua’s fight against Francis Ngannou

The time was nearly 3:30am in Riyadh by the time Ngannou and Joshua entered the ring

The time was nearly 3:30am in Riyadh by the time Ngannou and Joshua entered the ring

Fans took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to express their fury at the late start-time, largely caused by several of the undercard fights going the distance. 

‘These delays in-between fights are waaaaaaaaay too long. Let’s get this operation moving people,’ one wrote.

Another added: ‘Don’t understand why they have to fight so late #JoshuaNgannou its nearly 2am in Riyadh.’

‘They are gonna be fighting at about 3:30am local time in Saudi just doesn’t sit right that a fight as big as this is happening at that time surely they’ll be tired even before going in the ring?’ A third asked. 

‘How long is this fight card? Why such long breaks between the fights?’ Said another.

‘Just get on with it! This card has been going on for ages,’ wrote a fifth.

Joshua, aged 34, steps into this crossover showdown with Ngannou following consecutive victories over Jermaine Franklin, Robert Helenius, and Otto Wallin.

Meanwhile, Ngannou enters his second professional boxing match following a split-decision loss to Tyson Fury.

Fans were also critical of the atmosphere in Riyadh. 

The great and good of sport including Tyson Fury, Ronaldo Nazario, and Jose Mourinho are in attendance – but boxing fanatics are less than impressed with the energy in the arena. 

‘Boxing really sold their soul to Saudi. What a soulless atmosphere that is. Shocking,’ one wrote on X, formerly Twitter

‘They could use this Saudi boxing venue for American astronaut training because there is no atmosphere. Been noisier fight nights at Bracknell Leisure Centre,’ said Ian Darke.

‘Zero atmosphere at these Saudi boxing matches,’ wrote another. 

‘Saudi atmosphere makes me think this could be a Covid fight with no fans,’ commented another.