Anthony Joshua capped off 2023 with a third win – this time over former Tyson Fury foe, Otto Wallin.
The 34-year-old topped the Day of Reckoning card in Saudi Arabia against the tricky southpaw, who previously had a bloody battle with Fury.
Wallin went twelve with ‘The Gypsy King’ back in 2019, causing a cut above the Brit’s right eye that would subsequently require 47 stitches. Given the wound came from a legitimate punch, there was a real danger of the fight being called off in the Swede’s favour.
Fury rallied and boxed well with impaired vision, ultimately winning a unanimous decision and keeping his rematch with Deontay Wilder alive. He would switch trainers from Ben Davison to SugarHill Steward and beat the long-reigning champion to win the WBC world title five months later.
Wallin built up six wins – the most recent against Murat Gassiev – before facing ‘AJ’, who had also recently enlisted the coaching of Davison.
The partnership gelled and Joshua, who looked back to his best, dominated Wallin over five rounds before his corner pulled him out. Speaking to Boxing News, a bruised Wallin confirmed that Joshua’s work was ‘much tougher’ than Fury’s.
“He hit me with some good body shots. I’m always ready for that, of course, but I think they had a good game-plan. I haven’t watched the fight, but he felt like a very good fighter. Obviously it was a much tougher fight than what I had with Fury. He did really well. Maybe he’s found his home with Ben Davison.”
Wallin, previously convinced Fury would win an all-British heavyweight showdown, now says he can’t pick confidently.
“Well, I would say that this fight with Joshua was a lot tougher than the fight I had with Fury. It’s hard to say. I think that Fury’s a very good fighter. Can probably pick it up from what he was doing in his last fight. It’s a decent fight. We’ll see what happens with Joshua now.
He might be on to something really good with Ben Davison, and Ben obviously knows Tyson. I don’t know. There’s a lot of variables. I always said that Fury would win that fight, but now just being in with Joshua, I feel a little bit different. It’s hard to go against Tyson I think. But, I don’t know, it’s changed my mind a big after this fight.”
Joshua is now expected to look to fight for a vacant world title in the first half of 2024, made possible by Fury’s undisputed fight with Oleksandr Usyk having a rematch clause that will mean at least one of the belts will be stripped in the aftermath.
Should both keep winning, a the fight remains alive.