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Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou – Knockout Chaos: Start time and round-by-round updates as heavyweights meet in titanic clash in Saudi Arabia and Zheilei Zhang defends world title against Joseph Parker

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Follow Mail Sport’s live blog for all the build-up and round-by-round updates of Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou on huge night of boxing in Saudi Arabia. 

It’s an absolute marathon of a card tonight, likely to last over nine hours and featuring 10 fights overall.

The first fight of the card will be at 3:20pm UK time, which is 6:20pm Saudi time. The fights will run through the afternoon and evening with Zhilei Zhang versus Joseph Parker to start at around 10:20pm UK time.

The big one, Joshua against Ngannou, will get underway at around 11:20pm UK time.

Check below for a full summary!

Back to the potential knockout…

Tom Aspinall has joked that he is going to quit the UFC after learning of Francis Ngannou’s punching power.

Aspinall could be seen hitting a PowerKube punching machine – which measures the force generated in a punch by speed and accuracy – in a recent social media video.

He didn’t even get close to Ngannou, and, I won’t lie, it was quite funny.

Read how strong Ngannou truly is below.

Mail Sport’s boxing YouTube channel

I think it would be rude for me not to plug our Mail Sport Boxing YouTube channel.

It’s one of the main places to take in all our boxing content, with Jeff Powell and Charlotte Daly both in Saudi Arabai and getting all the interviews ahead of tonight.

We’ve got Warren, Fury, Hearn and Chirsora on there right now.

Hearn on Ngannou and Fury clashing is below. Check out the rest too!

Anthony Joshua is set to pocket an eye-watering £39million BEFORE pay-per-views. That’s Saudi’s interview for you.

That’s nearly quadruple the base purse he took home following his first meeting with Olekdandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, where Joshua pocketed £10m plus 60 per cent of the pay-per-view revenue, while his opponent took £3m of the pre-PPV purse.

Ngannou is reportedly set to make £16million. Not bad going.

Ngannou speaks to Mail Sport

Mike Tyson – he’s been in the news lately – trained Ngannou for his bout against Fury, which saw him come oh so close to stopping the Gypsy King in one of the biggest boxing upsets of all time.

This time, however, he has not, Ngannou told Mail Sport earlier this week.

Unfortunately not in this camp. My full camp was here in Saudi Arabia, I was here this entire time, although I was training in Mike Tyson’s gym.

Both men have had their struggles. Prison. Homelessness. Sport.

Their rises honestly make for interesting stories. You may be familair with Joshua’s, the Brit going from Olympic gold to mega star, but Ngannou’s you may not.

Zhang takes on Parker

Let’s talk about Zhang versus Parker.

Parker likely earned this fight through shocking Deontay Wilder in December, while the champion has shot to stardom after back-to-back wins over Joe Joyce – the second absolutely brutal.

He is favourite to win this one, but Parker is quite a tough cookie in general. A good test for both, I feel, and a really interesting penultimate fight.

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 7: Zhilei Zhang and Joseph Parker go head to head at the weigh-in ahead of their fight on March 7, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing via Getty Images)
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 7: Zhilei Zhang and Joseph Parker go head to head at the weigh-in ahead of their fight on March 7, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing via Getty Images)
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 07: Joseph Parker pose for a photo as he weighs in ahead of his 'Knockout Chaos' heavyweight fight against Zhilei Zhang at Greece in Boulevard World on March 07, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Richard Pelham/Getty Images)

Joshua speaks to Mail Sport

A lot has been made of the physique of the two fighters. That’s irrelevant, Joshua has told Mail Sport.

It doesn’t matter, we’ve got to right. We’ll see what happens, but talk is cheap. I’m ready, 100 per cent. I’m definitely, definitely, definitely ready.

The weigh-in took place yesterday and Joshua came in at a good 20lbs lighter than his opponent.

Joshua has put just over a pound on since his victory over Otto Wallin in December, going from 251lbs to 252.4lbs.

Ngannou, meanwhile, has practically maintained weight at 272.6lbs, having been 272.2lbs for his showdown with Tyson Fury in October.

Meanwhile, Zhilei Zhang (291.6lbs) weighed in over three stone heavier than Joseph Parker (247.6lbs), with the undercard pair taking to the scales moments before the main event weigh-in.

Check the full details from the weigh-in, including how Nick Ball and Rey Vargas fared, below.

There’s been a lot of talk about who will knock who out tonight. Hearn even finishes the video below by (again) predicitng Joshua to knock Ngannou out.

But does he need to? He is clearly the better boxer, and could sit on the back foot, jab away, and make sure he does not get hit. That’s the aim: do not get hit.

Our chief boxing reporter, Jeff Powell, has had his say. On what’s at stake, what could happen, and how AJ could approach it.

Eddie Hearn promotes the undercard

Eddie Hearn has been doing what he does best – talking.

You heard the man. Finish work, settle down, and follow this fight.

He’s also been promoting the undercard, featuring a number of exciting bouts as I listed earlier.

‘An unbelievable night of boxing.’

Nagnnou and Fury clash

His Excellency Turki Alalshikh, the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Entertainment, organised the meeting, and was front and centre of the photo that got the sporting world talking.

The Saudi official is already planning the next fight, with the winner of tonight’s main event set to take on the winner of Fury versus Oleksandr Usyk later on this year.

It wasn’t friendly for too long, however. Ngannou kicked off… and gave Fury a bit of a roasting, to be honest.

Naturally, it’s been quite the build-up to this fight, and it wouldn’t be Saudi without a few celebrities involved.

The three heavyweights who have been the talk of the week gathered for a pre-fight – let’s say – meeting earlier this week, and none other than Saudi posterboy Cristiano Ronaldo was also there.

Quite an iconic photo really, isn’t it? Click below to find out exactly why they all met up.

Huni vs Lerena to go ahead

I mentioned the undercard earlier and there are 10 fights on it, though there was risk there could have been just 10.

Kevin Lerena is due to take on Justis Huni in the fifth fight of the night, in what is set a 10-round heavyweight bout.

News broke yesterday, however, that the South African’s mother had passed away.

He revealed the news that he intends to fight on on Instagram, declaring that he will do so in her honour and carry her strength with him.

When all is said and done, tonight will come down to two brutal heavyweights competing for a shot at the undisputed heavyweight title.

We’ve put together a tale of the tape detailing the two fighters ahead of the bout. Height, record, wealth… it’s all in there.

Have a scan of the graphic below and check out our article below on it, too, if you want.

Naturally, the eyes of the boxing world are on tonight’s money-spinning bout in Riyadh, some eyes potentially closer than the fighters would like (cough, Tyson Fury, cough).

We’ve put together a piece detailing how some of the sport’s biggest starts think tonight will go.

The general feeling is that someone will get knockout out. Who, though, is splitting the pack…

Joshua vs Ngannou – TONIGHT!

Good afternoon one and all and welcome to Mail Sport’s live blog for the big heavyweight clash tonight between Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou.

We’ll have plenty of build-up to the event right here throughout the day, a reporter on the ground, and all the latest coverage on the site for Knockout Chaos.

Where would you rather be? I cannot wait.

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 07: Anthony Joshua (L) and Francis Ngannou (R) pose for a photo at the weigh-in ahead of their 'Knockout Chaos' heavyweight fight at Greece in Boulevard World on March 07, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Richard Pelham/Getty Images)