BOXING

Anthony Joshua returns against Otto Wallin and Deontay Wilder faces Joseph Parker on same bill in Saudi Arabia

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Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder can set up a fight in 2024 if they both win their separate bouts on the same bill in Saudi Arabia on December 23; Joshua will fight Otto Wallin while Wilder takes on Joseph Parker in Riyadh

Anthony Joshua will return against Otto Wallin and Deontay Wilder faces Joseph Parker as the heavyweight rivals appear on the same bill in Saudi Arabia on December 23.

Joshua and Wilder could be one win away from finally sharing the ring, with the former world champions expected to fight in 2024, if they both emerge victorious from their bouts at the end of the year in Riyadh.

Two British fighters have been handed surprise world title fights on the undercard as Lyndon Arthur challenges Dmitry Bivol for the WBA light-heavyweight belt, while Ellis Zorro targets the IBF cruiserweight title which is held by Jai Opetaia.

A crop of heavyweight contenders are also in action, with Daniel Dubois taking on Jarrell Miller in his first fight since a controversial loss to unified champion Oleksandr Usyk in August.

Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic, who is the IBF mandatory challenger for Usyk, faces Australian Mark De Mori, while the highly-ranked duo of Arslanbek Makhmudov and Frank Sanchez also feature on that show.

Despite preparing to face Parker, Wilder admitted he would like to finally face Joshua at some point in the future and hopes they will “get it on” soon.

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“It is good to be in the same room with him, to see him face to face, it has been a long time coming,” said Wilder.

“I wish him nothing but the best and hopefully soon we can give the people what we want and get it on in the ring.

“I believe it is going to happen, it is about that time. But even if it doesn’t, I wish him nothing but the best.”

Joshua has rebuilt with points wins over Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius after back-to-back defeats to Usyk.

But the two-time world king is risking his future plans against Wallin, who like Usyk fights out of the southpaw stance, and proved his toughness in a bloody points loss to Tyson Fury, which remains the only blemish on his record.

While Wallin has respect for what Joshua has done for the sport, he believes that his time at the top has peaked and is ready to bring an end to his career with a big win on December 23.

“Getting this fight, I am so ready for it, I have been waiting for it for a long time,” said Wallin.

“I think we both have a good idea of each other. Joshua had his peak maybe around 2018, he deserves a lot of respect, he has come from humble beginnings.

“Now I feel like he is on his way down, on his way out, and I am going to help him and win this fight.”

Despite confidence from Wallin, Joshua scoffed at the idea his career is coming to an end.

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“People talking about how I have peaked have never seen a peak in their whole career, so I don’t know what they are talking about,” Joshua said.

“I can’t predict the future but I know where I want to go, I know what I want to do. I am a man of my word, I stick with what I believe, and I believe I am going to be three-time champion of the world.”

Wilder has been absent from the ring for over a year since a first-round knockout win over Robert Helenius and is taking on a tough opponent in Parker, who has rebuilt with three wins after a stoppage loss to Joe Joyce.

 

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