In a stellar performance in Saudi Arabia, Anthony Joshua secured a convincing victory over Otto Wallin, prompting Wallin's corner to withdraw him from the fight at the end of the fifth round. Joshua exhibited superb boxing skills, dominating the bout and setting the stage for a highly anticipated showdown with Deontay Wilder. However, Wilder's surprising points loss to Joseph Parker on the same bill threw a wrench into plans for the much-anticipated heavyweight clash.
Despite Wilder's setback, Joshua expressed a level of sportsmanship, acknowledging that Wilder could make a comeback. While Wilder's loss was unexpected, Joshua refrained from exploiting the situation, taking the higher ground and leaving the door open for a future matchup. The potential bout between Joshua and Wilder had generated significant anticipation, and the Saudi organizers had already envisioned the clash for the coming year.
Joseph Parker, the New Zealand fighter, delivered an impressive performance against Deontay Wilder, securing a unanimous decision with judges scoring it 118-111, 118-110, and 120-108. The outcome reshuffled the heavyweight landscape, impacting the planned Joshua-Wilder bout. Although no official contract had been signed for the Joshua-Wilder fight, the expectation was for both fighters to announce a deal post-fight and set the stage for an early 2024 showdown.
Following the developments, promoter Eddie Hearn hinted at Joshua's potential next opponent, mentioning Croatia's Filip Hrgovic as a likely contender for a vacant IBF world title. As Joshua aims to become a three-time world champion, the shifting dynamics in the heavyweight division add intrigue to the upcoming matchups.