Joshua beats Wallin to chase IBF title, Parker stuns Wilder

Anthony Joshua put in an impressive performance to beat Otto Wallin within five rounds. But Deontay Wilder suffered a loss to Joseph Parker on the same bill which scuppered plans for the long-awaited Joshua-Wilder heavyweight showdown.

American Deontay Wilder appeared a shadow of himself in the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and was hurt badly in the eighth round as New Zealander Joseph Parker, also a former world champion, was awarded a unanimous decision with the judges’ scoring it 118-111, 118-110 and 120-108, after 12 rounds.

Nigerian-Briton Joshua, unlike Wilder, began strongly, dominating Wallin before the Swede’s corner pulled him out of the fight at the end of the fifth round.

Saudi organisers had already earmarked a Joshua-Wilder contest for next year. While no contract had been signed, the pair were expected to enter the ring post-fight and announce a deal to fight at some point in early 2024.

“I heard that Deontay lost. So what? He’ll be back. Deontay, everything that he said about me, I could rip him apart right now, but I’m going to take the higher ground,” Joshua said.

“You can come back. If he wanted to, he can come back. I’m sure everyone still wants to see that fight.”

Wilder admitted all the talk of a fight at least five years in the making had been “a distraction”, although Joshua more than did his part. After the fight, promoter Eddie Hearn said Joshua is most likely going to face Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic for a vacant IBF world title, bidding to become a three-time world champion.

With Oleksandr Usyk v Tyson Fury on 17 February in Saudi Arabia, a potential rematch between that pair could see the IBF title become vacant. A belt Joshua and Hrgovic could contest.

“We’ve got bigger ambitions,” Joshua said of his three wins this year.

“As I said to Louis Theroux, we don’t celebrate when we win these fights, we celebrate when we win titles.”

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