Anthony Joshua says his future is still bright, retirement a long way in the future – Ring News 24 | Boxing News

Anthony Joshua. Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Former two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 27-3 (24) feels all the momentum is with him ahead of his 10-round clash against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou 0-1 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Friday night.

The 34-year-old Brit will be entering the ring for the fourth time in less than a year when he face Cameroonian Ngannou, 37, who made his boxing debut last October when he dropped a close 10-round split decision to reigning WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury 34-0-1 (24) in a non-title bout.

Joshua rebounded from his second points loss to WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine champion Oleksandr Usyk 21-0 (14) with a 12-round unanimous decision victory over fringe contender Jermain Franklin Jr 22-2 (14) of America last April.

He backed up this performance with a seventh-round knockout of late replacement Finland’s Robert Helenius 32-5 (21) in August and a fifth-round stoppage of Swedish southpaw Otto Wallin 26-2 (14) in December.

Joshua sees Ngannou as just another stop on his journey to becoming a three-time heavyweight champion.

“I’m ready, I’m looking forward to it,” Joshua said.

“I’ve been working the whole year for this moment, so wrap up the year with another win, in terms of April until March, it’s been a year, from my fight with Franklin until now, so I’ve had four fights in a year.”

Joshua seems to have found a new lease on his career under new trainer Ben Davison.

“Different trainer. All trainers add something different. I’m always searching, always learning, and maybe the opponent. Styles make fights as well,” said Joshua, who has previously been trained by Derrick James, Robert Garcia, Robert McCracken and Tony Sims.

“I’m just building. It’s also the first time since 2017 that I’ve had three fights, like back-to-back so maybe getting back in the gym and getting consistent is starting to pay off again.

“That’s why fighters do so well on their way up, because they’re in there fighting every other week and they look amazing.

“The minute you get to the top, it’s like it all slows down and the only way out when you get to the top is retirement. And I’m just trying to rebuild again and get that activity.

“I don’t feel like I’m on my way out, I feel I’m still on my way up.”

The ‘Knockout Chaos’ card also features a host of other intriguing bouts, including Zhilei Zhang versus Joseph Parker at heavyweight, WBC featherweight champion Rey Vargas defending his title against Nick Ball, Mark Chamberlain facing Gavin Gwynne at lightweight, Justis Huni meeting Kevin Lerena at heavyweight and Jack McGann clashing with Louis Greene at junior middleweight.

There will also be three other bouts on the card between Andrii Novytskyi and Juan Torres at heavyweight over eight, Ziyad Almaayouf and Christian Lopez Flores at junior welterweight over six and Roman Fury versus Martin Svarc at heavyweight over four.

The card will be broadcast on DAZN pay-per-view.