The recent reveal that Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder are to fight on the same card — though not against each other — led to a few familiar groans on the periphery of the sport of boxing.
The two standout heavyweights, both former world champions, will appear in Riyadh on December 23, with Joshua fighting the dangerous Swede Otto Wallin while Wilder will box Joseph Parker. However, the placement of both on the same card led to a renewal of one of boxing’s biggest complaints over the years, in that it remains too difficult to arrange fights between its biggest stars owing to a labyrinthine obstacle course laid down by various promotional and broadcasting rights.
But speaking to The Mac Life this week in Dublin ahead of Saturday’s rematch between Katie Taylor and Chantelle Cameron, Joshua’s promoter suggested that the December 23 card is a step in the right direction for arranging a Joshua vs. Wilder showdown.
“The only reason they’re on this card is because everybody wants them to fight. I’m talking about us, I’m talking about Wilder, I’m talking about Saudi Arabia. We had six weeks when we received a phone call from Saudi Arabia, ‘Do you want to fight on the card? Otto Wallin is the opponent.’
“AJ was up for it. He wanted to fight three times this year. Wilder’s on the card — victory for both [and] the fight is inevitable. We got to a situation of it being pretty much agreed for January to not being agreed, but now we fight in December and hopefully we make the fight for March. I don’t think it’s over-marination as both guys are in their primes. No one is really showing any sign of decline, they’re both physically at their peak.
“It’s a tough fight for AJ against Otto Wallin. Six weeks notice against a southpaw who’s just coming off a big win in Russia against [Murat] Gassiev. I think [Joseph] Parker’s much more up and down for Wilder, he’ll deal with him.
“But if they win I have no doubt that you’ll see that fight.”