Joshua vs. Wallin, Deontay vs. Parker & Bivol vs. Rivera planned for PPV December 23rd in Saudi Arabia

Anthony Joshua vs. Otto Wallin, Deontay Wilder vs. Joseph Parker & Dmitry Bivol vs. Richard Rivera PPV card is planned for December 23rd in Saudi Arabia.

The event still isn’t official yet, but Eddie Hearn confirmed today that there are plans for Joshua & Bivol to fight on this date in Saudi.

The December 23rd date was one where fans had hoped Joshua would face Wilder, but Matchroom promoter Hearn isn’t interested in making that fight. He says he is holding off on that match-up until March or April, but it could be delayed further.

No word on which network would show it in the U.S., but given that Joshua is a DAZN fighter, that would be the logical platform.

The pay-per-view price hasn’t been mentioned either, but it’s logical to assume that it’ll be in the $70+ range, if not more. That’s a lot of money for this weird-looking card.

“Anthony Joshua would fight Otto Wallin in the main event of the pay-per-view, and former WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder would square off with former WBO titleholder Joseph Parker in the co-feature,” said Dan Rafael on his site.

The plan is for Joshua (26-3, 23 KOs) to fight fringe contender 32-year-old Otto Wallin (26-1, 14 KOs), while former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs) faces former WBO champ Joseph Parker (33-3, 23 KOs).

Fights planned:

  • Anthony Joshua vs. Otto Wallin
  • Deontay Wilder vs. Joseph Parker
  • Dmitry Bivol vs. Richard ‘Popeye The Sailor Man’ Rivera
  • Daniel Dubois vs. TBA
  • Martin Bakole vs. TBA

The southpaw Otto Wallin looked poor in his last fight, boxing his way to a dull 12 round split decision win over Murat Gassiev last September in Turkey.

With his trunks pulled up high to seemingly over a pot belly, Wallin moved around the ring for twelve boring rounds, rarely stopping and flicking out weak shots occasionally.

Wallin’s trunks looked like they were pulled up as high as Oleksandr Usyk’s in his recent fight with Daniel Dubois, the one where he got away with being dropped by what appeared to be a legal body shot, but the referee ruled it a low blow.

If Usyk’s trunks weren’t positioned so high on his waist, he likely would have been counted out. Surprisingly, referees allow fighters to have their trunks pulled up so high because at what point is that considered gaming the system?

WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) defending against ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’ Richard Rivera (25-1, 19 KOs) isn’t great either.

Rivera, 32, was beaten last year by 40-year-old Badou Jack, which tells you all you need to know about his qualifications for a title fight. Bivol might as well be fighting Badou if the Sweden-born fighter could melt down to 175, but that would not be a good fight.

You can give Bivol a break because the light heavyweight division is completely barren of quality fighters, and also, he’s coming off a year layoff. You can’t give fighters like Joshua or Wilder a break for fighting poor opposition because these guys should be fighting each other, not washed-up old guys.

Obviously, these are NOT great fights, and you have to wonder why Joshua’s promoter feels the need to put him in with his third consecutive tune-up level opponent following his loss to Oleksandr Usyk in August 2022.

Joshua is 34 years old, and you would think he’s beyond the point where he needs multiple confidence-builder contests after a decision defeat. You could understand this many warm-up fights for Joshua if he’d been brutally knocked out by an opponent, but that wasn’t the case.

He lost a twelve round split decision to Usyk last year in a fight that he could have won if he’d stepped on the gas and fought hard down these stretch in the championship rounds.

It just seems like a stone waste of time for AJ to have this many tune-ups, but not if he’s being intentionally held in a holding pattern by his wily promoter, Hearn, waiting for that big massive money fight against the fading WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who looks like he’s nearing the end of the line at 35 after a long career.

Hearn can’t afford to put Joshua in with a dangerous heavyweight like Deontay, Arslanbek Makhmudov, Zhilei Zhang, Martin Bakole, or Filip Hrgovic for fear of him losing out of the loot that he would make from the Saudis in a match-up with the aging Fury for Saudi Arabia.

Given that none of these fighters are particularly compelling and what boxing fans have been asking for, it will be a tough sell for the organizers to try to make money through PPV sales.

Of course, if the Saudis are bankrolling the event, losing money might not be a big deal to them. The recent Tyson Fury vs. Frances Ngannous fight last October in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is rumored to have brought in abysmal pay-per-view buy numbers, the kind that would give any promoter nightmares.

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