Wallin senses doubt and vulnerability in Joshua ahead of December 23rd Showdown

By Charles Brun - 12/07/2023 - Comments

Otto Wallin feels that Anthony Joshua has changed for the worse since he knew him before, showing that he’s mentally fragile ahead of their fight on December 23rd at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Wallin (26-1, 14 KOs) says that he noticed that the former two-time heavyweight champion Joshua (26-3, 23 KOs) seems tense, nervous, and mentally vulnerable during their face-off for their fight. He doesn’t seem like the same person that he was.

Otto thinks that the recent losses that the 34-year-old Joshua has suffered in the last four years have done something to his state of mind, sapping him of the self-confidence that he once had during his best years from 2013 to 2019.

The Joshua is flipping through trainers one after another like a mad man is a further signal that all is not well with the 6’6″ fighter, and it’s not looking good for him that he’s going to be able to turn things around to regain the momentum that his career once had.

Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has got to be having kittens, worrying about the downward trajectory of his main money guy, as he’s been the one bringing in the dough for his fights during the last decade since turning professional after his controversial Olympic gold medal victory in 2012.

Is this the end for Joshua?

If AJ gets beaten by 6’5 1/2″ Swede Wallin on December 23rd, this could be the end for him, and Hearn likely suspects that in the back of his mind.

Joshua’s recent fights:

  • Robert Helenius – KO 7
  • Jermaine Franklin – UD 12
  • Oleksandr Usyk – SD 12 loss
  • Oleksandr Usyk – UD 12 loss
  • Kubrat Pulev – KO 9
  • Andy Ruiz Jr. – UD 12
  • Andy Ruiz Jr. – TKO 7 loss

Joshua can keep going, and he probably will out of stubbornness & pride, but the gravy that he’s been brought in by the truck full won’t be the same.

That would be a disaster. Not having that loot flowing like it once did. AJ has enough cash to retire and then some, with his reported net worth of $80 million, but he doesn’t want it to end.

Hearn will have to work his magic in the matchmaking department to help turn Joshua’s career around, but he’s not a magician. Even Hearn has in what he can do for Joshua at this stage of his career.

Bringing him back to the early point of his career where things were going well would seem impossible, as Hearn can’t feed Joshua stiffs one after another without the boxing public knowing what he’s doing.

Joshua has changed

“I just felt he was very stiff, tense, and nervous. It was kind of not like the guy I remembered,” said Otto Wallin to Boxing Social about his thoughts on Anthony Joshua during their recent face-off ahead of their December 23rd fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“I’ve been around him before, but he seemed very unsure of himself. I actually started talking to him a little bit up there. After a while, he started talking back, and he started relaxing a little bit more,” Wallin continued about Joshua.

“I think he’s a guy that might take things pretty seriously, and he takes things to heart. He told me not to come and shake hands after if we’re not going to be talking now. I told him, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not here to make friends. It doesn’t matter.

“I’m going to do whatever it takes to win this fight, and if he doesn’t want to shake my hands after, that’s fine,” Wallin said about the 34-year-old Joshua, who has been going through tough times lately, losing on several occasions against fighters he was expected to beat.

AJ’s mind in a “bad spot”

“I think definitely there is,” said Wallin when asked if there were things that he could do to exploit the flaws in Joshua’s game. “He’s already been beaten three times. There’s no secret that he can be beaten, and I think now, more than before, I think his mind is in a bad spot.

“I think he has too much pressure on his shoulders, and he’s really feeling it. I think that’s hard for him. He used to be the guy that everybody was looking up to, and he was the champion, but he’s not the same guy anymore, and I think that’s hard for him,” said Wallin about Joshua.

It’s pretty clear that Joshua’s confidence has taken a dent from his losses, and he’s showing that with his ultra-timid style of fighting and his weak opposition.

Joshua is afraid to pull the trigger on his punches and has been agitated recently, seemingly trying to give a false show of strength to the wolves who want to finish him off.

That four days in a darkened room thing that Joshua did recently was a sign of desperation, as he wants to regain the aggressiveness that he once had earlier in his career.

What AJ doesn’t understand is that his success in the first six years of his career from 2013 to 2019 was mostly due to Hearn feeding him tomato cans.

The kind of guys that Joshua faced were the weak variety, designed to make him look unbeatable. Hearn did a good job of manufacturing this seemingly unbeatable Automaton fighter that his fans thought was the real thing.

“I think that’s really bringing himself down, and he’s really unsure of himself, and he’s shown that with all these different trainers. If you change trainers once, it takes a long time to get going, and now he’s done it three times,” Wallin said about Joshua swapping out trainers at an alarming rate.

“I think it’ll be interesting. I think it’ll be too short of a notice to really change anything, and I think it’s going to make things worse,” said Wallin on Joshua switching trainers from Derrick James to Ben Davison for their fight.

Wallin is correct about it not being enough time for Joshua’s new coach, Ben Davison to have much impact on his fight with him. The most Davison can do in that time is get Joshua to move more, which he’s already doing quite nicely without him.

What Joshua needs for the Wallin fight is aggressiveness because if this contest stretches into the later rounds, he’ll likely gas out like he’s done in the past and could get knocked out.

“When you’re in there and getting hit, you’re going to go back to what you know, and you have someone in the corner telling you what to do. You might not believe it or trust him 100%, and I think that’s a problem,” said Wallin.

“I’m going to pay you all back with a good performance and a good win on December 23rd,” said Wallin in a message to his boxing fans.

YouTube video