Joshua-Ngannou boxing match gets epic ‘Street Fighter’ style ad

Longform piece directed by Romain Chassaing mixes live action, animation and CGI

Published On
Mar 04, 2024
Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou looking like "Street Fighter" characters

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The opening scene: Boxer Francis Ngannou confirms his upcoming match with Anthony Joshua while making his way through a busy, almost saturated New York street. “I'll beat him anytime, anywhere,” says Ngannou.

The catalyst: As soon as Ngannou utters the words, a mysterious figure bumps into him. To his surprise, it is none other than Anthony Joshua, who removes his hoodie to the chant of a roaring crowd thirsty for a good old street showdown. This leads to a series of montages where a man takes bets next to a phone booth, and then a woman furiously screams, “Fiiiiiiight!”

The camera then pulls back, revealing the champions in their respective battle attire: boxer shorts branding their last names, boxing gloves, and shoes! Oh, it’s on!

The films quickly shift to mimic the look and feel of games such as Street Fighter, turning the boxers into 16-bit pixelated players, with health meters above them and New York as not only the background but also the fighting stage.

 

The action-packed two-minute spot, created by BigTime Creative Shop and directed by Romain Chassaing, promotes this Friday’s Joshua-Ngannou bout in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The spot converges reality and animation, with The Mill Paris handling visual effects, from traditional 2D animation like Pixel Art to 3D and motion design. It also involved the development of numerous CG elements, ranging from characters and luxury cars to environmental features such as earth and clouds.

“We gathered measurements and 3D scans of multiple environments for the production team,” said Marouan El Bekri, CG supervisor at The Mill Paris. “The challenge lay in seamlessly blending the aesthetics of Pixel Art and gaming with the advertising world to achieve a cohesive result that resonated with the director's artistic vision.”

Just as in Street Fighter, after every “winning” match—in this case, the most epic and hardest punch—the boxers are transported to a different city, which then serves as a new match background. From New York, a punch from Joshua takes Ngannou out of orbit all the way to Mexico. Joshua is then catapulted to Japan, where he smashes through a couple of floors and disrupts a couple’s establishment on the first floor.

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A lady with a broom sweeps him away but then resorts to showing off some martial arts tricks reminiscent of Chun-Li’s distinctive “Hyakuretsukyaku” trick in Street Fighter. In this case, instead of the leg, it is the broom going at the speed of lightning. The impressive bout eventually sends both athletes to Saudi Arabia, where their health meters have gone south, and they land flat on their backs inside a ring to the sound of “Game Over.”

“The agency afforded us complete artistic freedom, with Romain encouraging us to explore and propose a plethora of ideas. This project proved to be both original and invigorating on multiple fronts, from its visual effects to its destination and the overall quality of its execution,” said Alexis Baillia, VFX supervisor at The Mill Paris.

The teaser film comes in anticipation of the boxers' upcoming 10-round match this Friday at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The match will be available worldwide through the live sports streaming service, Dazn.

Ngannou is no stranger to flashy promos for his fights. He also co-starred in the “Rumble” video last year ahead of his Riyadh fight against Tyson Fury.

There is also a Street Fighter-like mobile experience where you can control one of the two fighters in a gamefied boxing match.

Credits

Date
Mar 04, 2024
Client :
Riyadh Season
Agency :
BigTime Creative Shop
CEO :
Mohammed Sehly
CCO :
Rayyan Aoun
CIO :
Anis Zantout
Business Director :
Ziad Chehab
Head of Social Media :
Nael Girgis
Agency Producer :
Inas Nagy
Art Director :
Gustavo Bilesimo
Production :
Academy Films
Director :
Roman Chassaing
Executive Producer :
Simon Cooper
Producer :
Tom Cartwright
PM :
Rosie Pike
DOP :
Nico Poulsson
Production Designer :
David Bersanetti
1st AD :
Robert Thorpe
Costume :
Claudia Martins
Post-Production :
The Mill
Executive Producer :
Fabien Leclerc
VFX Producer :
Stephanie Mollet
Post Producer :
Antoine Ville
VFX Supervisor :
Alexis Baillia
CG Supervisor :
Marouan El Bekri
CG Supervisor :
Valentin Lesueur
Editor :
Manuel Coutant
Grading :
Arthur Paux
Sound Production :
BMM Network
Music Supervision :
Joseph Petitpain
Music Supervision :
Julien Cornuel
Music Supervision :
Théo Darcel
Music Artist :
Ugly Duckling
8-bit Remix :
The Everlasters
SFX & MIX :
Studio Cardinal
SFX & MIX :
Emmanuel Desmadryl
SFX & MIX :
Jean-Jacques Hubert
Voice Over :
Gary Lyons

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