Anthony Joshua put in a terrific performance to beat Otto Wallin inside the distance but Deontay Wilder’s shock points loss to Joseph Parker on the same bill in Saudi Arabia scuppered plans for the long-awaited heavyweight showdown.
Briton Joshua boxed magnificently, dominating Wallin before the Swede’s corner pulled him out of the fight at the end of the fifth.
Earlier in the night, American Wilder appeared a shadow of himself in Riyadh, and was hurt badly in the eighth as New Zealander Parker was awarded a unanimous decision.
Parker, also a former world champion, was awarded a unanimous decision with the judges’ scoring it 118-111, 118-110 and 120-108.
Saudi organisers had already pencilled in the Joshua-Wilder bout for next year. While no contract had been signed, the pair were expected to enter the ring post-fight and announce a deal to fight at some point in early 2024.
Joshua did his part, but Wilder admitted all the talk of a fight at least five years in the making had been “a distraction”.
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