Anthony Joshua storms to victory – as rival Deontay Wilder dominated in surprise defeat

Anthony Joshua storms to victory – as rival Deontay Wilder dominated in surprise defeat
  • PublishedDecember 25, 2023

In a doubleheader that was expected to set up a March fight between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, the pair had mixed fortunes in Saudi Arabia – with both involved in one-sided fights that made headlines for very different reasons.

Anthony Joshua impressed with a crushing victory, while rival Deontay Wilder slumped to a surprise defeat on the same night in a heavyweight doubleheader in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua, 34 – who was considered the favourite ahead of the fight – delivered one of his best performances in recent memory to make it three wins from three this year, beating opponent Otto Wallin, 33, in five rounds.

Meanwhile Wilder, 38 – who has claimed 42 of his 43 career wins by knockout and is viewed as one of the hardest hitters in boxing history – was dominated by underdog Joseph Parker, from New Zealand.

Saturday’s doubleheader was expected to set up a bout between Wilder and Joshua in March, and the Brit maintained a fight is still possible despite the Bronze Bomber’s surprising loss.

“If he wants, he can come back and fight another day,” he said, adding he could “rip him apart right now”. “It is up to him and I am sure everybody still wants to see that fight.”

Anthony Joshua was in control throughout the fight. Pic: AP
Image:Anthony Joshua was in control throughout the fight. Pic: AP

Joshua, having beaten Jermaine Franklin Jr by unanimous decision in April before a seventh-round stoppage against Robert Helenius in August, cruised to a 27th career victory.

He came flying out of the blocks in Riyadh and inflicted damage on Wallin as early as the second round.

By the fifth, Joshua was throwing menacing punches with Wallin offering little in return, with the Swede’s corner calling time on the fight at the end of the round.

Wilder’s fight was similarly one-sided, but the much-fancied Wilder was on the receiving end of a well-executed game plan from Parker, who told Sky News he’d been training with Tyson Fury – the only man to have beaten Wilder before Saturday.

Joseph Parker dominated Deontay Wilder. Pic: AP
Image:Joseph Parker dominated Deontay Wilder. Pic: AP

Parker was comfortably ahead on the scorecard heading into the eighth round, when he threw an overhand right and a flurry of punches as Wilder held on.

The New Zealander remained composed in the 10th and 11th, before a desperate Wilder came out swinging in the final round looking for a knockout blow.

But Parker never looked in danger of losing against the former WBC champion as he sealed a huge upset – with the judges scoring 118-111, 118-110, 120-108 in the 31-year-old’s favour.

“My timing was off a little bit,” Wilder said. “He did a great job of avoiding a lot of my punches. I did feel like I had the upper hand, but things happen. We move on to the next step.”


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