'I have this special gift' says Joshua after massive TKO victory over Wallin in Saudi Arabia

Deontay Wilder suffers shock loss to New Zealand's Joseph Parker in co-main event to leave heavyweight dream in tatters

By Leslie Wilson Jr.

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Anthony Joshua celebrates after winning his fight against Otto Wallin. - Reuters
Anthony Joshua celebrates after winning his fight against Otto Wallin. - Reuters

Published: Sun 24 Dec 2023, 2:13 PM

Last updated: Sun 24 Dec 2023, 5:23 PM

Britain's Anthony Joshua said he had ‘a special gift’ after delivering a punch perfect performance to score a fifth round TKO victory over Sweden’s Otto Wallin on a blockbuster ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.

A former unified heavyweight boxing champion, Joshua got his career back on track at the expense of the dangerous Swedish fighter who was totally outclassed by the Briton on the night.

Joshua targeted the body of his opponent all night to systematically wear him down to force a premature retirement in the main event on one of the biggest nights in boxing history.

"I have this special gift and I use it to the best of my ability, It was not a throwback fight, but just another fight,” said Joshua inside the right. “It was just another fight, another day in the office.

Britain's Anthony Joshua (R) pressures Sweden's Otto Wallin during their heavyweight boxing fight at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh - AFP
Britain's Anthony Joshua (R) pressures Sweden's Otto Wallin during their heavyweight boxing fight at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh - AFP

“I was prepared to win by any means. My spirit, my mind was geared to victory. This is a treacherous business, like snakes and ladders.

“I think I worked hard and all that paid off today. Every fight leads to the final destination,” added Joshua. who is bidding to become a world champion for the third time in his career.

Eddie Hear,n Joshua’s promoter described his fighter as the ‘best heavyweight in the world,’'

There were several famous names ringside at the Kingdom Arena with football superstar and five-time Ballon d'Or winner.and Al Nasr striker Christian Ronaldo seated alongside UFC legend McGregor .

Deontay Wilder (L) covers up as New Zealand's Joseph Parker throws a heavy right during their bout at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh on December 23. - AFP
Deontay Wilder (L) covers up as New Zealand's Joseph Parker throws a heavy right during their bout at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh on December 23. - AFP

The atmosphere was electric as Saudi Arabia, who have embraced top level sports promotion, put on a massive show.

Also present were heavyweight legends Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, George Foreman and Sugar Ray Leonard to name a few.

In the co main event New Zealand’s Joseph Parker dominated an out-of-sorts Deontay Wilder to win almost every round in a unanimous decision victory.

"Everyone had other plans but this is God's plan," Parker told broadcaster DAZN.

Conor McGregor and Cristiano Ronaldo sat next to each other. - Reuters
Conor McGregor and Cristiano Ronaldo sat next to each other. - Reuters

"This is massive and the best opponent I've ever faced. Tyson Fury gave us his time with sparring and was massively important."

Wilder absence from the rind appeared to have affected his traditionally aggressive performance.

"My timing was up a little bit," said Wilder. “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”

Wilder also hinted about the future when he said: "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."

Results

Anthony Joshua def. Otto Wallin — TKO, Rd. 5, 3:00min

Joseph Parker def. Deontay Wilder — Decision, 120-108, 118-110, 118-111

Dmitry Bivol dfe. Lyndon Arthur — Decision, 120-107 x3

Daniel Dubois def. Jarrell Miller — KO, Rd. 10, 2:52

Jai Opetaia def. Ellis Zorro — KO, Rd. 1, 2:56

Filip Hrgovic def. Mark De Mori — TKO, Rd. 1, 1:46

Agit Kabayel def. Arslanbek Makhmudov — KO, Rd. 4, 2:03

Frank Sanchez def. Junior Fa — KO, Rd. 7, 2:42


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