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Anthony Joshua will fight Otto Wallin in Saudi Arabia on 23 December, on the same card as a bout between Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker.
The fights are just two of several heavyweight clashes that will take place in the same ring in Riyadh, with Daniel Dubois and Filip Hrgovic among the other boxers in action that night, while light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol is also set to compete. The event was officially announced at a press conference in London on Wednesday (15 November).
Joshua, 34, and Wilder, 38, have long been linked to one another, and there will inevitably be frustration among fans that the Briton and American will share a ring on 23 December but without boxing each other.
Joshua will instead box Wallin, whose sole professional loss came against Tyson Fury in 2019. The Swede, 32, almost secured a victory that night after inflicting a severe cut over Fury’s right eye. Wallin has since won six fights in a row, and his professional record stands at 26-1 (14 knockouts).
Meanwhile, Wilder will fight Joseph Parker (33-3, 23 KOs), a teammate of Fury. The New Zealander is on a three-fight win streak, having bounced back well from a stoppage loss to Joe Joyce last year.
Joshua (26-3, 23 KOs) and Wilder (43-2-1, 32 KOs) both beat Robert Helenius last time out, with “AJ” stopping the Finn in Round 7 in August, after Wilder secured a first-round knockout in October 2022.
Joshua’s victory over Helenius was his second straight win after his back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk, who took the unified heavyweight titles from AJ in 2021 and retained the gold in their 2022 rematch. Meanwhile, Wilder’s win against Helenius saw him respond positively to back-to-back defeats by Tyson Fury, who won the WBC belt from Wilder in 2020 and retained it against the American in 2021. The pair previously fought to a controversial draw in 2018.
Elsewhere on the 23 December card, Dubois will box Jarrell Miller, while Hrgovic fights Mark De Mori. Bivol will defend his WBA light-heavyweight title against Lyndon Arthur, and also in that division, Jai Opetaia fights Ellis Zorro. Meanwhile, Frank Sanchez will go up against Junior Fa at heavyweight, where Arslanbek Makhmudov boxes Agit Kabayel.
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