We would have liked them against each other. They will finally find themselves… on the same map. Former heavyweight world champions Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder will be on the agenda for a fantastic evening of boxing on December 23 in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), where they face respectively Otto Wallin and Joseph Parker. With some other beautiful names on offer.
Saudi Arabia and the boxing world had been hoping for a showdown between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, the first full unification fight for the major heavyweight titles since 1999. In principle, we will eventually have to wait until February. But lovers of the noble art can rest assured: December 23 will indeed be the date of the fire card in Riyadh. The other two stars in this category, two former world champions, British Anthony Joshua and American Deontay Wilder, will join the program. If many were hoping to see them share the ring in a fight that has been anticipated for years, they should now be satisfied to see them share the poster.
Regarding the programme, first announced by Dan Raphael and then confirmed by Mike Coppinger (two specialist journalists) and which should become official on Wednesday in London at a press conference? Anthony Joshua vs. Swede Otto Wallen, Fury’s former opponent, and Deontay Wilder vs. New Zealander Joseph Parker, the former WBO champion whom Joshua knocked out in 2018. And with the hope of seeing a win for the two left behind – it’s not a guarantee between the left-handed Wallen. Who can upset “AJ” and Parker will undoubtedly mark a career-best victory with both over Luis Ortiz at “Bronze Bomber” – and they find themselves going head-to-head in 2024.
According to Dan Rafael’s sources, the former British WBA-IBF-WBO champion will be placed in the main event because he is the “bigger name and bigger star” compared to the former American WBC champion. But the heavy duo will not be the only noble art stars in the program of this beautiful evening on December 23 within the Riyadh Season Festival. The head of the General Entertainment Authority in Saudi Arabia, who was already at the origin of the clash between Fury and Francis Ngannou at the end of October, Turki Al-Sheikh has put in place the means to present himself with a very strong card.
Joshua and Wilder will be accompanied in particular by Russian Dmitry Bivol, the WBA light-heavyweight champion and winner of the star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez last year, who will defend his belt against Briton Lyndon Arthur in his first fight in 2023 (as we were particularly hoping for him against his compatriot Artur Beterbiev from For complete unification of the category). IBF-The Ring light heavyweight champion, Australian Jay Obitaya, should also be in attendance to defend his title against Britain’s Ellis Zorro.
According to Boxing Scene journalist Keith Edek, Croatian heavyweight Filip Hrgovic – currently ranked No. 1 in the IBF rankings and a mandatory challenger for the US federation – will see him compete in a fight for the vacant belt against an opponent whose winner could be Joshua – Wallen. If Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk meet in a (contractually signed) rematch after their first fight – he will be present against Australian Mark De Maury.
The evening will certainly be heavyweight with three other potential (but yet to be confirmed) fights: undefeated Russian Arslanbek Mahmudov, No. 3 in the World Boxing Championships and No. 4 in the WBA, versus undefeated German Ajit Kapil, the European champion in European Broadcasting Union; Briton Daniel Dubois, former WBA “regular” champion, against undefeated American Jarrell Miller; Undefeated Cuban Frank Sanchez, No. 2 in the WBO and No. 4 in the WBC, against New Zealander Junior Fa. All of these fights are not equal, far from it, and we would have loved to have faced fights like Joshua Wilder. But if all these names are on the December 23 programme, where rumors have also been for some time that new WBC number 10 Francis Ngannou could be seen for a second fight in the ring against Dereck Chisora, then boxing will present itself with a rare evening for the end of the year.
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