‘Redemption’: Wilder vs. Parker, Joshua vs. Wallin

By Gary Todd - 12/18/2023 - Comments

With only days to go before Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua both step through the ropes and into battle with their respective opponents in Joseph Parker and Otto Wallin, this Saturday night on December 23rd, live on DAZN.

Wilder will face the Samoan-born New Zealander Parker, and Joshua has the Swedish, New York-based southpaw Otto Wallin to contend with. A loss for both would be devastating and could potentially be the end of the road for each of them.

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Each of them knows what it feels like to be defeated, and each of them knows what it’s like to be knocked down and out.

The 6’7 power-punching Wilder has made a career out of relieving 42 of his opponent’s senses in the ring, but he has also been bruised, battered, and mauled into an exhaustive state in tough hard fights with Tyson Fury in recent years. In his last fight, he destroyed Robert Helenius in one round with a right hand in October 2022.

Since 2016, Anthony Joshua has experienced the highs and lows of heavyweight boxing, from beating Wladimir Klitschko in a tremendous battle to beat Joseph Parker on a wide points decision and then be shell-shocked and stopped by the paunchy but powerful Andy Ruiz in New York in what was seen as one of the biggest upsets in many years. Ruiz agreed to a lucrative’ let’s do it again fight ‘ in Saudi Arabia, and he came into the fight very heavy and lethargic. And Joshua came back fighting with gusto, winning a wide points decision, and therefore back on the road to glory.

Next up in September 2021 was the Ukrainian Olexander Usyk in a fight that many people thought would be a step too many for the experienced boxer from Ukraine. In the fight, Usyk out-hustled, out-punched, out thought Joshua, hurting the Englishman late and dominating to beat him on points.

Once again, Joshua came back to fight Usyk in the rematch the following June, and although he fought better, hurting Usyk to the body, but never having the grunt or energy to finish him when he could have, letting Usyk off the hook to win by a split decision in Saudi. Many thought his days were over, and many questions were asked. Did he want to fight? Did he have the desire? Did he really need it? With the media cruelly writing him off, Joshua came back again in early 2023, beating the American Jermaine Franklin on points. Again, the media attacked him, and more questions were asked. Joshua answered by knocking Deontay Wilder victim, Robert Helenius, out in the 7th round.

While Wilder has been knocked down physically, there is no doubting this man. He oozes confidence in himself, and he believes in his ability.

Joshua, on the other hand, hasn’t been banged up physically, but he has shown vulnerability with his actions and demeanor in the ring and with the media that somewhere inside, there is a niggling sense of self-doubt that will not leave him.

Otto Wallin is a big southpaw who isn’t noted for his power. He is a 12-round fighter that relies heavily on being in your face all night. He tussled with Fury and proved to be a real handful for the WBC champion. His last five fights have been points wins.

Joseph Parker has made a lot of money in boxing, but he has been unspectacular at the championship level. Arguably, he was fortunate in his win over Andy Ruiz when they fought in New Zealand. He was then beaten on points by Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora. He came back to face Chisora a few months later, knocking him down three times to beat him on a wide points victory. He was knocked down and stopped by Joe Joyce in the 11th round. He has been active in the gym and the ring in 2023, with confidence-boosting TKO wins against Faiga Opelu and the big-punching Simon Kean.

With both Wilder and Joshua on a collision course, probably fighting in the Saudi Arabian desert in 2024, Parker and Wallin have been brought in to give both of them a fight, a challenge, a chance to show what each of them has left, and to put on a show for the oil-rich money makers.

Wilder TKO in 7th round
Joshua, on points.

Gary Todd is an international best-selling author with his books on boxing. ‘ Workouts from Boxing’s greatest champs’ Vol 1 and 2. Check out his latest, ‘ Annie’s Boy’ garytodd.org

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