Anthony Joshua sees Otto Wallin as a stepping stone on his way to a title fight

By Sports Desk November 15, 2023

Anthony Joshua has vowed to deliver a “demolition job” on Otto Wallin when the British heavyweight fights on the same bill as Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia on December 23.

Joshua, who is looking to insert himself back into the world title picture, will face the Swede as part of a stacked card in Riyadh.

The 34-year-old Joshua, who beat Robert Helenius in his last bout in August, will fight after Wilder, who faces Joseph Parker on the undercard.

The 2012 Olympic gold medallist is on a quest to become a three-time heavyweight champion and he sees Wallin, who claimed a points victory over Murat Gassiev in September, as the next step.

“I’m looking forward to delivering my message to Otto Wallin on December 23,” Joshua told a press conference.

“I can’t predict the future but I know what I want to do. I believe I’m going to be three-time heavyweight champion and the first step is to put a demolition job on Otto Wallin.

“It’s going to be a really good time to go to Saudi. It’s going to be big, we haven’t seen a card like this before.

“This is not a one-stop shop. This is a vision, this is my first stop and I will deliver the message. I’m determined to win and get back to my peak.”

Joshua lost his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight belts to Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and he fell short in their rematch the following year.

Eddie Hearn, his promoter, believes the best is still to come for Joshua, who will step into the ring for a third time this year after victories against Jermaine Franklin and Helenius.

Hearn said: “This is a tough fight. We saw (Wallin) against Tyson Fury, he’s a good southpaw and we have seen something different from AJ (Joshua).

“I think the best chapter is still to write for AJ. He changed the face of Saudi boxing and this is a challenge he wants to take.

“He wants to be heavyweight champion again and I think this will be a destructive performance from him.”

Hearn talked up a potential showdown between Joshua and Wilder next year, saying: “Wilder is potentially a massive fight to bring in 2024.

“This lines everything up for AJ and this lines up his whole career. I can’t wait to see him shine on December 23.”

The date was initially reserved for Tyson Fury and Usyk’s undisputed heavyweight showdown, which has since been postponed following the Briton’s lacklustre performance against Francis Ngannou last month.

Wallin, whose only defeat came against Fury, admitted the fight against Joshua was a bit of a surprise.

He said: “It’s an easy fight to make for us. I didn’t expect to fight again this year. I’m in a great position and feel on top of the world.

“I have been waiting for this for a long time and I’m blessed to be in this position.”

British heavyweight Daniel Dubois will take on American Jarrell Miller on a stacked undercard, which also features Manchester’s Lyndon Arthur challenging WBA light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol and London’s Ellis Zorro taking on IBF cruiserweight holder Jai Opetaia.

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