Anthony Joshua focused on victory over Otto Wallin and not what future holds

By Sports Desk December 22, 2023

Anthony Joshua insisted he remained focused on securing victory on Saturday night and was not distracted by thoughts of future fights when he goes up against Otto Wallin in Saudi Arabia.

The 34-year-old is aiming to make it three wins from three in 2023 having already beaten Jermaine Franklin Jr by unanimous decision in April before securing a seventh-round stoppage against Robert Helenius in August to earn a 26th professional career victory.

Saturday’s bout is an important clash for the former two-time world heavyweight champion, who is looking to insert himself back into the top of the heavyweight division.

Speaking after Friday’s weigh-in, Joshua said: “If my prayers are answered, I’ll get the win.

“I’ve been focused, praying hard and whatever God wants from me, I’m going to follow that path. I’m making sure it’s not just prayer, I’m following up by action as well.”

With talk of a proposed fight against Deontay Wilder – who faces Joseph Parker on the same bill – Joshua insisted he remained focused on securing success on Saturday night before considering future fights.

He said: “I’m a serious fighter, I’m a serious businessman, I’ve got a great team behind me and they’re handling business. As I always say, let me focus on what I’ve got to focus on.

“Without Saturday night there is no future. Saturday night I’ve been saying all week is my main focus. Whatever happens in the ring, I know that’s where my heart is. I need to get this win.”

Joshua has recorded three career losses so far, beaten by Andy Ruiz in 2019 before Oleksandr Usyk defeated him twice, and comes into Saturday’s fight weighing 251 pounds, while Wallin came in at 238.6 pounds.

The Swedish southpaw has only one career loss to date against Tyson Fury and insisted there would be a “new king” on Saturday.

Wallin said: “I’m a small fighter. I’m a southpaw. I’ve trained for this moment for a very long time so I’m very much ready for it.

“I know tomorrow there’s going to be a new king and he’s from Sweden.”

Wilder and Parker will also go head-to-head in the other main showpiece this weekend.

Wilder comes into the bout at a lean 213 pounds compared to Parker’s 245.3 pounds and the heavy hitter, who has won 42 of his 43 victories by knockout, insisted Parker had “never felt the power” he possessed.

“I’m just this calm and collected,” Wilder said.

“I’ve been here many times before and I’ve fought his style before. He’s never fought a style like mine. He’s never felt the power that I bring and possess.”

Parker vowed to “be aggressive” ahead of their meeting.

He said: “We’re here, we’re ready and I can’t wait.

“I’m going to be aggressive, go in there, execute the plan, follow the strategies and get the win.”

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    Earlier this month, Usyk beat Fury by virtue of a split decision to become the first undisputed world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis held the WBC, WBA and IBF belts from November 1999 to April 2000.

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    In a post on X on Wednesday, Alalshikh wrote: "The rematch... is now scheduled on the 21 of December 2024 during Riyadh Season.

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    On Tuesday, Fury's promoter Frank Warren told Sky Sports he was confident the Gypsy King would bounce back. 

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    Usyk won by split decision to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis, and the first to unite all four belts.

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    After an even start, the momentum shifted in a brilliant ninth round for the Ukrainian as he caught Fury with a left hook, forcing the referee to give him a standing count before the bell saved him from a further onslaught.

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