Joshua too strong for Wallin as Parker outpoints Wilder

Britain’s Anthony Joshua (L) competes with Sweden’s Otto Wallin during their heavyweight boxing match at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh on December 23, 2023. AFP

Former world champions Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker re-established their heavyweight title credentials with victories on the same Riyadh bill on Saturday.

British boxer Joshua produced one of his best performances of recent times by stopping Sweden’s Otto Wallin, who was pulled out by his corner after the fifth round of a one-sided bout.

Earlier, Parker enjoyed a unanimous points-decision win over fellow former world champion Deontay Wilder, the New Zealander triumphing 118-111, 118-110, 120-108 in a dominant display that appeared to scupper pre-fight talk the American would next face Joshua.

There had also been speculation that whoever triumphed in a Wilder-Joshua bout would then face the winner of February’s clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, who between them currently hold all the major versions of the world heavyweight title.

But Joshua said he had paid no attention to Wilder’s fight, telling DAZN: “I wasn’t watching. I just focused on myself…Deontay, everything that he said about me, I could rip him apart right now, but I’m going to take the higher ground.”

Victory gave Joshua his third win of 2023 after he beat Jermaine Franklin Jr by unanimous decision in April before a seventh-round stoppage of Robert Helenius in August.

It also took the 34-year-old’s professional record to 27 wins and three defeats as he inflicted the first inside the distance loss of Wallin’s career.

Joshua is looking to become a three-time world champion following two defeats by Usyk and a shock 2019 loss to Andy Ruiz.

‘God’s plan’

“Not so much a throwback fight, just another day in the office,” said Joshua. “You want to do whatever it takes to be victorious. That’s all I want to be.”

Wallin’s only previous professional loss had come against Fury. But he had no answer from the opening bell against Joshua, who with just over a minute of the fifth round remaining produced a superb left hook that had Wallin stumbling towards the ropes.

Earlier Parker, comprehensively defeated Wilder in the former World Boxing Council champion’s first bout in over two years.

“Everyone had other plans but this is God’s plan,” said Parker, 31, who improved to 34-3 with 23 knockouts after sparring with Fury.

Renowned as a knockout artist, Wilder was involved in a trio of dramatic bouts with current WBC champion Fury, drawing the first before losing the next two.

Wilder’s long period of inactivity appeared to count against the 38-year-old, with Parker — who lost the World Boxing Organisation title to Joshua by a unanimous points decision in Cardiff five years ago — landing the cleaner punches as well as producing several thumping roundhouse rights.

“Well done Joseph, he did a great job avoiding my punches,” said Wilder, who fell to 43-3 with one draw and 42 knockouts. ” We move on to the next thing…We make no excuses. We’ll be back for sure. We have a little bit more left.”

But he added: “I’ve done a great job with managing my money and investing. I’m a happy fighter. I’ll be back soon and if not, it’s been a pleasure.”

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