Deontay Wilder and Anthony top the bill in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 23 – but they’re still not fighting each other.
The transatlantic rivalry is coming as close as it ever has been, with the pair both understood to be keen on significantly ramping up talks should they come through their respective bouts.
Wilder faces New Zealand’s Joseph Parker – a former world champion and training partner of one Tyson Fury, who handed the American his only two losses.
It represents the first action for ‘The Bronze Bomber’ since October 2022 – a first round knockout of Robert Helenius – and a chance to shake off any ring rust in preparation for the ‘AJ’ fight in 2024.
Joshua faces Swedish southpaw Otto Wallin, best known for giving Fury a tough fight and a 47-stitch cut. Since then, Wallin has built up six wins, the most recent of which came over standout cruiserweight Murat Gassiev.
Fans are curious as to how the two fighters, complete with the substantial egos of former world champions, will decide who’s taking the main event slot.
Wilder believes it should be him but, in an interview with 78SPORTSTV, said he would settle for a coin flip.
“The [Saudis] came up with it the orders. The only thing I’m not certain of is whether I’m gonna be the main event or Joshua gonna be the main event. I requested them to do a flip of a coin. Let’s see what happens.
I feel I should be main event because of what I carry. People wanna see knockouts. We know for sure if you wanna see that, who the man to get? I always say women lie, men lie, but numbers do not lie … They be wanting the knockout king, a body on that canvas shaking and all that kind of s**t.”
Fans certainly won’t mind, with most hoping that these two tests in the form of Parker and Wallin don’t scupper long-awaited plans for the two big hitters to face off.