Heavyweights Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou have official arrived in Saudi Arabia ahead of their fight on Friday.

Both sounded confident and talked at length with DAZN at the Grand Arrivals earlier today, and Joshua said he was itching to get into the ring against the Cameroonian wild card on the Knockout Chaos bill.

“I’m ready, I’m looking forward to it,” said the former two-time world heavyweight champion. “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 [Jermaine] Franklin until now, so I’ve had four fights in a year.”

Joshua followed the Franklin win with stoppage victories over Robert Helenius and Otto Wallis, and asked why he was seemingly enjoying a purple patch of improvement, particularly with the Wallin performance, Joshua said: “Different trainer. All trainers add something different. I’m always searching, always learning, and maybe the opponent. Styles make fights as well.”

Joshua is now being trained by Ben Davison, having had a spell in Texas with Derrick James, and before that working with Robert Garcia, Robert McCracken and Tony Sims.

“I’m just building,” Joshua added. “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.” 

Ngannou, who has been in Saudi Arabia for the last seven weeks, working out at the Mike Tyson Gym, has done this all before once, ahead of his only boxing match to date, against Tyson Fury last October. 

“In my honest opinion, the Tyson Fury fight was different,” MMA veteran Ngannou admitted. 

“He was the first one, there was a lot of noise, Fury is very loud, there was a lot of curiosity, the boxing community was very loud about it, and a lot of people didn’t believe [in] it, but now it seems like, ‘Okay, it’s a normal fight.’” 

“I’m not leaving boxing. At the beginning [of his journey] it was boxing. I wasn’t aware of MMA, and for more than a decade it was about boxing and dreaming about boxing and even when the opportunity came around, it was an opportunity for me to shine, to be a world champion and potentially do the crossover and go back to boxing because I feel it was something I needed to fulfil in order to be at peace with myself. 

“In order to retire peacefully, I need to do that boxing because I just love it. I can’t tell you why, but I love it and I enjoy it.”

Ngannou was asked about Joshua’s confidence, which some deemed fragile a year or so ago but something that now seems to have returned. He is not taking it for granted that any part of Joshua will be vulnerable on Friday.

“Things can happen in the fight, but you don’t go into a fight expecting a guy to lose confidence,” Ngannou, 0-1 as a boxer, continued. “When he’s an elite fighter, when he’s a professional, maybe from that lack of confidence, he has learned more and now has more confidence, because he gets experience from that, we all learn from our experience.”