Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder are edging closer to finally facing off.
The two former champions have announced they will fight on the same card on December 23 in Saudi Arabia, with wins setting their own contest up nicely.
Joshua takes on tricky southpaw Otto Wallin, a man whose sole defeat came via decision against Tyson Fury. In the launch press conference, Wallin said Joshua was ‘past his peak’ and was confident he could spring the upset.
As the co-main event, Wilder will challenge Joseph Parker, himself a former WBO World Champion with losses to ‘AJ’, Dillian Whyte and, most recently, Joe Joyce.
Parker has activity in his favour. This will be his fourth fight of the year against Wilder’s first since October 2022.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed that the Saudis plan is to match his man up with Wilder should they both win next month. What happens then remains to be seen, but James Toney – a three-weight world champion and two-time heavyweight belt challenger – believes it’s an easy night for the American.
In an interview filmed earlier this year, Toney told ES News that Joshua ‘is shot.’
“Wilder. Joshua, he’s totally shot man. It is what it is, Joshua showed his true stature. He gets scared.”
‘AJ’ has come in for some criticism for being ‘tentative’ or ‘gun-shy’ – something he attributes to simply being a smarter and more considered fighter.
Wilder – if the fight is made and neither man loses or moves in a different direction – will be the acid test for this new style.