Boxing: Joshua beats Wallin as Parker outpoints Wilder in Riyadh

Former world heavyweight champion Joshua won in a technical knockout after five rounds of his non-title fight in Riyadh.

Boxing - Anthony Joshua v Otto Wallin - Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - December 24, 2023 Anthony Joshua celebrates after winning his fight against Otto Wallin REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
Anthony Joshua came flying out of the blocks in Riyadh and inflicted damage on Otto Wallin as early as the second round [Ahmed Yosri/Reuters]

Anthony Joshua delivered one of his best displays with an impressive stoppage of Otto Wallin, who was pulled out by his corner after the fifth round of a one-sided bout.

The 34-year-old made it three wins from three in 2023 after his win in Riyadh on Saturday night.

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

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

Joshua landed a left hook to Wallin’s head, followed by a thunderous right cross and a second quick right, which left Wallin frazzled and with blood leaking from his right nostril.

On to the third and Wallin’s patched-up nose was pouring again as Joshua landed another right. A strong left knocked Wallin off balance, and the former European champion was backed up on to the ropes and now with a cut to his right eye.

A steely-looking Joshua showed no sign of easing up in the fourth round as he landed a number of head and body shots on his opponent. A right hand skimmed the face of Wallin, with Joshua looking comfortable and in control.

In the fifth, Joshua was throwing menacing, calculated punches, with Wallin offering little to nothing in attack. With just about one minute of the round remaining, Joshua unleashed a superb left hook to leave Wallin stumbling towards the ropes.

Wallin managed to stay on his feet and see out the round, but the Swede’s corner said their fighter was unable to continue as Joshua celebrated a destructive win.

‘Just another fight’

Joshua, a strong favourite, needed more than just a victory to convince sceptics his best days were not behind him. The British boxer earned some style points against the 33-year-old Wallin.

Joshua (27-3-0) had not looked the same since holding the WBA, IBF and WBO titles. But he delivered a throwback performance, jabbing and moving forward with confidence while backing down Wallin (26-2-0). A strong right-left combination in the fifth round eventually led to the stoppage.

“Just another fight. I respect Otto,” Joshua said. “Not so much a throwback, just another day in the office. I’m just a gifted fighter that has a special gift, and I use it to the best of my ability.

“We just want to do whatever it takes to be victorious. All I want to be is just be victorious for as long as I can. I’m searching for greatness.”

The identity of Joshua’s next opponent is unclear following Joseph Parker’s shock defeat of Deontay Wilder on the same card.

The double-header was expected to set up a March bout between Wilder and Joshua.

Instead, it appears Parker is in a position to step up in March, with the winner of that fight hoping to get a shot at the undisputed championship, which will be decided on February 17 when Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk meet in Saudi Arabia. The heavyweight division has not been unified this century.

Boxing - Anthony Joshua v Otto Wallin - Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - December 23, 2023 Cristiano Ronaldo is seen before the fight REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
Cristiano Ronaldo was in attendance at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh [Ahmed Yosri/Reuters]

Parker dominates Wilder

The 31-year-old Parker looked like the better fighter throughout, while the 38-year-old Wilder looked his age in a matchup of former heavyweight champions.

Parker (34-3-0) dominated from the start, landing powerful punches with his right hand while keeping Wilder on his heels with a smart and methodical approach.

“Dangerous fight, tough fight, we trained very hard for this,” Parker said.

“We had great momentum coming into this fight. The strategy was to stay calm, stay relaxed, stay focused … every minute of every round. This is a great finish to the year.”

There was only one round in which Wilder got the better of Parker.

“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.”

Earlier, Dmitrii Bivol defeated Lyndon Arthur in a unanimous decision that saw all three judges score it a 12-round sweep for the IBO light heavyweight and WBA super light heavyweight belts.

Source: News Agencies