We have waited years for an Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder superfight, and once again it appears to have been snatched away at the very last moment.
March 9, 2024 was apparently the date set for the biggest punchers in the heavyweight division to finally meet inside a ring, in Saudi Arabia. All they had to do was avoid defeat on that massive ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in Riyadh on Saturday night.
But before AJ could even enter the ring for his bout with Otto Wallin, the dream was in tatters after Wilder dropped a unanimous decision to underdog New Zealander Joseph Parker.
Parker stuns Wilder in Saudi upset
Wilder looked like a 38-year-old who had been out of the ring for 14 months as he struggled badly to find any sort of rhythm in a bout which the excellent Parker dominated.
Round 8 saw the American former WBC heavyweight king almost knocked out as Parker launched a furious assault on the man from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He survived that trauma, but still could not get a foothold in the fight.
Parker controlled things the rest of the way to win by unanimous decision on the scorecards – 118-110, 118-111 and 120-108.
Afterwards, Wilder admitted that the Joshua talk had affected him as he revealed: “Just a little bit, there’s a lot of talk about different things but we make no excuses.”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn meanwhile had to deliver some very bad news to his man as he prepared backstage for that Wallin showdown.
He admitted: “It’s ruined our plans. We’ve got to go back to the dressing room and let AJ know that Deontay Wilder has been beaten by Joseph Parker. The future is not Deontay Wilder. If anybody was going to ruin the plan I’m delighted it was Joseph Parker and Andy Lee. Top, top men. But I’ve said before, this guy (Wilder) has never beaten an elite heavyweight.”