Fight Week Diary: Joshua vs Ngannou

March 5 2024

Welcome to the Matchroom Boxing Fight Week Diary ahead of Friday’s big show headlined by Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou. Scott Hammerton here live from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Keep checking back throughout the week as more will be dropping below each day… Just a reminder we’re +3 hours ahead here of the UK!

Friday 8th: Weigh In

10.21pm: Terrible traffic in Riyadh means we’ve only just finished up and returned to the hotel. Some late dinner with the legend Mike Goodall who recalls various stories from years gone by.

8.10pm: Quite a sizeable difference in our main event but Anthony Joshua looks cool, calm and collected. This could be brutal tomorrow.

6.55pm: More faces from the boxing world are here as fight night draws near. David Haye, Derek Chisora, Manny Pacquiao, Conor Benn to name just a few.

4.10pm: That’s a wrap, Raymond Ford joins Leigh Wood alongside exclusive insight from Joe Parker and Justis Huni which will drop live first thing Friday morning.

2.33pm: It’s back over to the Fight Week venue for all the build-up events, Boulevard World. I can confirm the rumours from yesterday are true, the ice creams are very good. Now it’s time to finish of recording the Pod in a bit of shade.

11.12am: We’re recording our Flash Knockdown Podcast with Leigh Wood shortly. It’ll be interesting to hear the two time Featherweight Champ’s plans and thoughts on Ray Ford’s big win.

09.55am: Worth noting the Heavyweight’s are due to hit the scales in real time later tonight.

08.02am: An early start for the team as the official weigh in and rules meeting is due to take place from midday.

Thursday 7th: Press Conference

11.23pm: We’re back at our hotel, some editing and a debrief over dinner to finish the day… See you tomorrow!

9.23pm: Told you it could go long. Anthony Joshua had a long time to wait… And we even got a glimpse of what he was listening to on that Airpod. Francis Ngannou and Tyson Fury continued their war of words and the size difference between Nick Ball and Rey Vargas was very evident. Joseph Parker’s one liner stole the show for me, funny bloke.

6.55pm: The final press conference is due to begin, it could be lengthy given the names on the top table. We’re split in two… A portion of the undercard going first followed by our title fights thereafter.

5.33pm: We’ve arrived back at Boulevard World, the scene for today’s press conference, which captivates various regions in the World. The presser setup is in ‘Greece’ and just over the bridge is ‘Italy’ where various members of the media are enjoying an ice cream or two.

4.02pm: Dewey Cooper is wandering around the hotel, he spots one of our Matchroom microphones… “AJ’s in for a long night!”

2.09pm: Our guy Justis Huni has a little shake out in the hotel gym, sharpening the tools. “He’s very strong and explosive but I’ll be switched on from the first bell.”

1.23pm: Zhilei Zhang goes through his final pad session, there’s a mixture of technical and power work being carried out. “If I land my best shot, Joe Parker goes to sleep!”

11.24am: It’s a late arrival into Riyadh for Israil Madrimov but I’m told The Dream is on-site and ready to go for Friday’s World Title fight against Magomed Kurbanov. This is going to be a war.

10.10am: Images from His Excellency’s Social channels at last night’s dinner are a big talking point amongst the staff and wider media. Oh to have been a fly on the wall for those conversations between AJ and Tyson Fury!

09.42am: A lovely team planning breakfast to start the day. There’s plenty happening so stay tuned across this blog and also our social channels as we lead into the final press conference.


Tuesday 5th: Workout

01.31am: That’s a wrap, On The Ground is available now to conclude our offering from Tuesday of Fight Week!

11.58pm: We’re back at our Fight hotel to finish off work for the night. Our ‘Inside Look’ feature is in the works for a release Thursday night. There’s the Snooker on down the road, live on DAZN, hopefully we can make it over tomorrow for the final!

8.55pm: Anthony Joshua invites some youngsters into the ring for his workout, something we have seen previously. AJ looks focused on the task at hand, whilst giving his platform to showcase others.

8.42pm: There it is! Francis Ngannou lands The Superman Punch. Will we see it on Friday?

8.25pm: Well, that was fun. A 25 minute episode of our On The Ground podcast will be dropping later. 8 or 9 guests including Eddie Hearn, Nick Ball, Gareth A Davies and Kugan Cassius included.

8.07pm: Rey Vargas is massive. Remember him over in Hull to fight Gavin McDonnell a good 6/7 years back and he seems to be bigger than ever!

5.02pm: There’s something about the way Justis Huni glides around a boxing ring. The unbeaten Aussie looks to move one step closer to a shot at World honours this Friday against Kevin Lerena.

4.04pm: Final prep for the workout and we’re now live! John Fury is ringside ready to take Roman on the pads shortly.

2.48pm: This is some place. Various parts of the World represented with their own regions, food and the like. Steve Bunce is here early to soak up the atmosphere. “This is the sixth time I’ve been here in quick session. It has the big fight feel each time you head here!”

2.01pm: More media rounds in Riyadh but we’re heading over to Boulevard World to get prepared for the Workout.

12.15pm: Good to catchup with the Sky Sports team, who interview Eddie Hearn at one of the fight hotels. “Anthony Joshua is a more rounded fighter since he linked up with Ben Davison.”

10.22am: On the drive from our hotel, there’s various Knockout Chaos billboards present. It feels bigger than December’s Day Of Reckoning already.

08.11am: Finally on-site for a big week ahead. The Grand Arrivals launched fight week with various media obligations for the entire card, today we have the workout.