Joshua says defeat by Wallin on blockbuster Saudi card would leave him 'no future'

A win will help build the British heavyweight's career with a fight against long-time rival Deontay Wilder, who is also in action on Saturday, lying in wait

By Reuters

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Antonhy Joshua in action during his fight against Robert Helenius. Joshua won via a seventh round KO. - Reuters
Antonhy Joshua in action during his fight against Robert Helenius. Joshua won via a seventh round KO. - Reuters

Published: Fri 22 Dec 2023, 3:58 PM

Former world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua said there would be "no future" for him in the sport if he fails to beat Otto Wallin in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

Two-time world champion Joshua, (23-3) who lost his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts to Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk in 2021, is fighting on the same bill as ex-WBC title holder Deontay Wilder.

The pair could fight if both get past their opponents in Riyadh, with Wilder (43-2-1) facing Joseph Parker (33-3).

Asked if it was hard to focus on Wallin (26-1) with a potential showdown against Wilder in the works, Joshua told reporters on Thursday he was not thinking beyond Saturday's bout.

Deontay Wilder (L) in action against Luis Ortiz during the third round of the WBC heavyweight championship bout in New York.  Wilder wins by seventh-round knockout. - AP
Deontay Wilder (L) in action against Luis Ortiz during the third round of the WBC heavyweight championship bout in New York. Wilder wins by seventh-round knockout. - AP

"My heart, my soul, every cell in my body is fully focused towards Otto Wallin and doing what I know I can do," the 34-year-old Briton said.

"I know where I'm going in my life. But I've also got to say, this is the checkpoint and if I don't get past this, there is no future.

"So I'm fully locked into Otto Wallin and doing the job."

Joshua, a two-time world champion with 23 wins and three losses in his professional career,

Saudi fight card

(Starts 8pm UAE - Live streaming service DAZN)

Anthony Joshua v Otto Wallin (heavyweight)

Deontay Wilder v Joseph Parker (heavyweight)

Daniel Dubois v Jarrell Miller (heavyweight)

Dmitry Bivol v Lyndon Arthur (WBA light-heavyweight title)

Jai Opetaia v Ellis Zorro (cruiserweight)

Arslanbek Makhmudov v Agit Kabayel, heavyweight

Frank Sanchez v Junior Fa, heavyweight

Filip Hrgovic v Mark De Mori, heavyweight

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