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Day of Reckoning: Joshua v Wallin & Wilder v Parker Predictions

Former heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder look to end the year with a bang when they co-headline a super card for the ages in separate fights in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

Anthony Joshua

Former heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder look to end the year with a bang when they co-headline a super card for the ages in separate fights in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

Joshua goes to war with Otto Wallin while Wilder battles Joseph Parker in a doubleheader of epic proportions. Fans have long clamoured for Joshua and Wilder to collide and if they get past their respective opponents this weekend, the fight is likely to finally materialise in 2024.

Card starts at 9 PM Saturday SA time

Anthony Joshua (1.27) v Otto Wallin (3.65) (Heavyweight)

A rivalry is renewed in the main event. The pair have met twice before in the amateurs, with Joshua winning both bouts, but that was then, and professional boxing is a different beast.

That said, “AJ” is favoured to make it 3-0 against the Swede in their 12-round showdown and for good reason. A former two-time unified champion and Olympic gold medallist, he’s a super athlete with intelligence to match. Highly technical with all the tricks of the trade, the muscle-bound Brit is a ring general with much greater big-fight experience than Wallin.

Following his back-to-back defeats to WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and 2022, Joshua beat Jermaine Franklin on points in April and continued his comeback with a big knockout of Robert Helenius in August to move to 26-3 with 23 KOs.

In Wallin, he faces a durable opponent whose only defeat in his 28-fight pro career was against Tyson Fury in 2019. In a bout that went the distance, “All In” gave Fury arguably his toughest fight until Francis Ngannou.

The 33-year-old has strung together six straight wins since, most recently beating Murat Gassiev by split decision in September to secure the WBA Inter-Continental title and take his record to 26-1-1NC with 14 knockouts. 

That Wallin is a tricky southpaw makes this a very interesting match-up considering the problems Joshua had against the king of southpaws in Usyk. Wallin’s not as fast or fluid as Usyk but he’s crafty and awkward in a lot of ways, which makes him a challenging puzzle to solve for anyone.

At the end of the day, though, Joshua has all the tools to outpoint him in what should be a captivating high-level clash that’s likely to go the full 12 rounds.

Prediction: Joshua by decision.

Best Bet: Joshua by decision at 2.20.

Alternative Bet: Over 10.5 rounds at 1.54.

Deontay Wilder (1.16) v Joseph Parker (5.25) (Heavyweight)

With Wilder, it only takes one shot to close the show. He’s the most destructive force in heavyweight boxing history. In 46 career fights, he has 43 wins – 42 of those by knockout, giving him an unrivalled KO ratio of 91.3%. For context, the great “Iron” Mike Tyson’s knockout ratio was 78.6%.

The three fights the former WBC titleholder didn’t win were all against Fury, with the American taking a draw and two losses in the epic trilogy against “The Gypsy King.”

“The Bronze Bomber” bounced back from those defeats with a frightening knockout of Robert Helenius last October, his 20th first-round finish, and has his next victim in sight. A bazooka-wielding brawler, he’s anything but technical but doesn’t need to be as he has an uncanny ability to find the target.

Parker is a significantly more sophisticated boxer than Wilder. His skills and fight IQ took him to the WBO title, which he held from 2016 to 2018 when he lost the belt to Joshua. The hard-hitting New Zealander has remained a staple in the heavyweight elite and has won nine of his last 10 fights.

Whereas Wilder has been out of the ring for over a year, 2023 has been Parker’s most active year since 2016. Since being knocked out by Joe Joyce last September, he’s rattled off three wins, albeit against unranked opponents.

After starting the year with a decision win over Jack Massey, he scored back-to-back knockouts of Faiga Opelu and Simon Kean, the latter earning him the vacant IBF and WBO Inter-Continental titles and improving his record to 33-3 with 23 KOs.

Agility, perpetual motion and head movement will be key for Parker if he hopes to cause the upset. He has to make it a boxing match as opposed to a brawl. The problem is he’s the smaller man.

Giving up three inches in height to the 6’7″ American and more importantly, facing an eight-inch reach disadvantage, he has to throw himself into the fire in order to score points and do damage of his own. That’s a scary, scary proposition.

Twelve rounds is a long time to stay perfect, which is what Parker will have to be to play spoiler, and it’s just a matter of time before Wilder catches him either coming in or with a spear-like strike on the outside.

Prediction: Wilder by knockout

Best Bet: Under 6.5 rounds at 1.85.

Alternative Bet: Wilder to win in rounds 4-6 at 3.40.

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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