Joshua ready to unleash anger: Hearn predicts “Violent performance” in Riyadh

By Robert Segal - 12/22/2023 - Comments

Eddie Hearn says he’s expecting a “violent performance” from Anthony Joshua on Saturday night in his fight against the slick southpaw Otto Wallin.

Promoter Hearn says he spotted fear in Wallin (26-1, 14 KOs), seeing his heart beating fast, during his face-off with Joshua (26-3, 23 KOs) at today’s weigh-in.

If Wallin, 33, looks as afraid as Hearn believes him to be, it might not matter because Joshua looks even more terrified than him. A loss here for AJ, and it’s fair to say that his remaining fans will jump overboard, leaving his sinking ship.

A lot of them don’t want to continue to watch Joshua’s once-promising career sink beneath the waves because it’s a downer for them. Fans don’t want to witness the final plunge for AJ, especially when they’re being asked to pay to witness his demise.

If Joshua loses on Saturday against Wallin, his record would be 4-4 in his last eight fights, and the only reason it’s not 0-8 is because he’s fought these four fringe contenders:

Robert Helenius
Jermaine Franklin
Kubrat Pulev
Andy Ruiz

It’s difficult for fans to trust AJ because he’s often failed and looked timid since his war with Wladimir Klitschko.

Joshua looked to be the picture of fear during the head-to-head with the big Swede Wallin and could tell that wheels were rolling around in his head, like, ‘What am I doing to do? I don’t want to lose again. If I get beat, that payday against Deontay Wilder will go out the window.’

AJ & Waillin will battle this Saturday, December 23rd, at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Wallin’s fear in face-off

“I’ve never been so excited for an AJ fight because I feel like he’s going to start turning the screw now. I think this is going to be a violent performance from him,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing about Saturday’s must-win for Anthony Joshua in his fight against Otto Wallin in Saudi Arabia.

If it will be a violent performance from AJ, hopefully, he’s been working on his cardio because he can’t afford to fade against the southpaw Wallin. We saw what his powerful right jab did to the face of Tyson Fury, opening up cut so bad that it required 47 stitches to patch it up.

“Otto Wallin has talked a great game. His heart was beating out of his chest in the head-to-head, and I think he was looking at Anthony Joshua, thinking, ‘My lord, you are a lump. Tomorrow night, I’ve got to take what you dish out, and there’s going to be a lot of it,’ and there’s going to be a lot of hammer from Anthony Joshua.”

There’s nothing wrong with Joshua being afraid as long as he lets his hands go like Hearn is expecting from him, but if all he’s going to do is throw jabs, hoping Wallin will gas out like his last opponent, Robert Helenius, it might not work.

“Wallin is a great operator; he’s a very, very talented southpaw, but if everything we see and hear is correct, get ready for AJ tomorrow night,”
said Hearn. “A huge amount of pressure, as always. The world is talking about what might be next. All that matters is tomorrow night and getting through Otto Wallin.

“Look, how can you not be nervous,” said Hearn when told that Joshua said that he thinks Wallin is nervous because he keeps trying to get into his head. “He [Otto] actually said at the press conference yesterday, ‘I am nervous,’ and you got to be.”

AJ unbound: Too terrifying for Otto?

“When Anthony Joshua lets his hands go, it’s one of the most terrifying sights in sport, and that’s the Anthony Joshua that we hope to see tomorrow night because if he does let his hand go and he’s razor-sharp, he’s going to knock this guy out and he could do it early,” said Hearn.

In the distant past, Joshua was at his best, he would unleash flurries on his opponents, burying them with a flood of punches that would force quick stoppages. However, AJ hasn’t fought like that since 2016, and it’s highly doubtful he can turn back the clock to be the fighter he was in his 20s.

For starters, Joshua is heavier now, carrying around too much muscle for him to throw a storm of punches without getting winded and being easy prey for Wallin. It takes Joshua too long to get his second wind, sometimes as many as three rounds.

“How will Wallin approach the fight? Will he be aggressive? Will he box off the back foot? He’s crafty, and he’s intelligent. Yeah, I’m really excited to see him [Joshua] perform, and I hope he can go and do justice for all his hard work and dedication,” said Hearn. “Not just in this camp but his career.

“It’s such a massive night for him ahead of what might lay ahead in 2024,” said Hearn.

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