Anthony Joshua dominates Otto Wallin in Riyadh as Deontay Wilder suffers shock defeat

British heavyweight completes fifth-round stoppage victory over Swede while Wilder loses comprehensively to Parker

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British heavyweight Anthony Joshua rolled back the years as he overpowered Otto Wallin at Riyadh's Kingdom Arena.

Joshua delivered one of his best displays in recent memory with an impressive stoppage of Wallin early Sunday morning.

The 34-year-old made it three wins from three in 2023 after the fight was called off following a thunderous fifth round which left Wallin unable to continue. The Swede's corner stopped the fight in the break between the fifth and sixth rounds during an action-packed 'Day of Reckoning' event.

Joshua, who had beaten Jermaine Franklin Jr by unanimous decision in April before sealing a seventh-round stoppage against Robert Helenius in August, eased to a 27th professional win.

With football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo sitting ringside alongside former UFC champion Conor McGregor, Joshua immediately got to work, landing jabs and straight right hands.

The two-time unified heavyweight champion dictated the fight from the centre of the ring, forcing his opponent to circle on the outside.

Joshua, who twice beat Wallin on points as an amateur, hurt his opponent in the fifth, throwing thunderous hooks with both hands to leave the Swede unsteady on his feet as he headed back to his corner. His team told the referee he could not continue.

Joshua said he was delighted with the result but refused to say that he was back to his best.

"Not a throwback fight, just another fight. I respect Otto and I was telling everyone in the build-up I need to focus on the man in front of me because of what he brings to the table. It was just another day in the office," Joshua said.

"My approach was victory by any means. This is a treacherous business. It is like snakes and ladders, one win takes you up the ladder and a defeat takes you all the way down so I just want to be victorious for as long as I can. I am a gifted fighter who has a special gift and I am just searching for greatness."

While Joshua dominated, the other big draw of the evening in the kingdom suffered a shock loss.

Joseph Parker defeated former world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in a unanimous points decision.

Parker's dominance was reflected by all three judges, who scored the non-title fight 118-111, 118-110, 120-108 in the New Zealander's favour.

The result has possibly scuppered a long-awaited clash between Wilder and Joshua.

There had been speculation that the winner of a possible Wilder-Joshua clash would face the winner of February's clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, who between them currently hold all the major versions of the world heavyweight title.

But Parker, a former WBO title-holder, was too good as he comprehensively defeated Wilder.

Wilder's long period of inactivity appeared to count against the 38-year-old, with Parker landing the cleaner punches. The American briefly rallied in the eighth round but did well to make it to the bell as Parker, 31, hit back with several blows.

"My timing was up a little bit," said Wilder, who fell to 43-3 with 1 draw and 42 knockouts. "Well done Joseph, he did a great job avoiding my punches. We move on to the next thing. We aren't going to base it off that. We live to see another day and that is what it's all about."

When asked if the talk of a fight with Joshua had been a distraction, Wilder said: "A little bit. It was a lot of talk about a lot of things. We make no excuses. We'll be back for sure. We have a little bit more left."

But he added: "I've done a great job with managing my money and investing. I'm a happy fighter. I'll be back soon and if not, it's been a pleasure."

Updated: December 24, 2023, 4:52 AM