BOXING

Joshua dismantles Wallin to finish 2023 on a high

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Anthony Joshua dismantled Otto Wallin as he continued his quest to become a three-time world heavyweight champion.

The former unified title-holder, 34, started brightly against a fighter who went the distance with Tyson Fury in September 2019.

He controlled the opening four rounds, busting up Wallin’s face along the way, before stepping on the gas in the fifth.

A huge left hook staggered his opponent, who was left in survival mode until the end of the round, but Wallin’s corner had seen enough and waved off the bout with their man on his stool.

After recording his third win of 2023, Joshua said: “Otto is a true warrior. The corner play a huge role so their fighter can live to fight another day.

“I’m a gifted fighter and I use my gift. I’m searching for greatness and [trainer] Ben Davison is a great addition to my goal. I’m sure you can see that today.

“Not so much a throwback fight, just another day in the office. Victory by any means.

“You want to do whatever it takes to be victorious. That’s all I want to be.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn added: “This Anthony Joshua is the best heavyweight in the world. With this mindset he is unbeatable.

“That was a punch-perfect performance against an excellent heavyweight — 2024 is going to be a massive year for him.”

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The build-up to the show in Riyadh had focused on a potential showdown between Joshua and former WBC champion Deontay Wilder.

But with Wilder outpointed and outclassed by Joseph Parker earlier in the night, AJ refused to criticise a man he has verbally sparred with for years.

He said: “I heard that Deontay lost. So what? He’ll be back.

“Everything he said about me, I could rip him apart but I’m going to take the higher ground.

“He can come back. I’m sure everyone still wants to see that fight.”

Hearn added: “We signed for Wilder, he lost tonight, that’s OK. It happens in boxing. Maybe it’s a blessing because this guy is about championships.”

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