By: Sean Crose
Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder may not be squaring off this weekend in Saudi Arabia, but both men will be highlighting a very impressive pay per view card nonetheless. Joshua will be taking on Otto Wallin on Saturday, the same Otto Wallin who gave Tyson Fury all the towering Englishman could handle a few years back. Wilder, on the other hand, will be facing former heavyweight titlist Joseph Parker on Saturday. And, while there are questions surrounding Wider, who hasn’t fought in over a year, there’s little doubt that questions surrounding Joshua’s psyche abound in the leadup to this weekend’s fights. Joshua has lost two out his last three bouts to the brilliant Oleksandr Usyk, after all – and did not handle the second defeat particularly well.
And that sort of thing leads to questions. Wallin is no world titlist, but he came rather close to becoming one against Fury. What’s more, Wallin is a serious contender. Although Joshua is expected to emerge victorious, the vibe is that Wilder will make easier work of Parker than Joshua will of Wallin. Never one to hold back, Wilder has spoken openly about Joshua’s recent history. “AJ seems to have lost the respect he once had,” the hard hitting American claimed via the Daily Mail. “Now, with a few losses under his belt, everyone sees him as beatable and doesn’t hesitate to talk smack. That must be tough for him, going from widely respected to this. When I’m around him, I sense it.” He may well not be speaking glowingly of Joshua, but Wilder has all the reasons in the world to want the Londoner to win on Saturday.
Wilder and Joshua are said to be fighting in March, after all – provided both men emerge victorious this weekend in Saudi Arabia. “As of now, I don’t see anything preventing our fight with AJ,” Wilder said. “The only thing that might derail it is if either of us loses on December 23…but all the previous issues, like disagreements with his manager and promoter, don’t seem to be a problem anymore.” Things are looking bright, then, provided Joshua can best Wallin – and Wilder can best Parker. Although no world title may be at stake there’s no doubt that a Joshua-Wilder fight would be an enormous event. Fans have wanted to see the two in action for years – back when both were world titlists themselves.
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