Anthony Joshua secured a statement win in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as Otto Wallin was pulled out by his corner after the end of the fifth round of their heavyweight meeting set for twelve.
Joshua, under the guidance of Ben Davison for the first time, was dominant in dealing with Wallin, moments after seeing his proposed mega showdown with Deontay Wilder go up in smoke.
Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) began with authority, as he banked a solid opening round, but Wallin (26-2, 14 KOs) landed a solid left in the second that got the attention of ‘AJ’.
The former two-time heavyweight world champion was putting his punches together well in the third, and he was busting the Swede up with several slashing shots.
The Watford man upped the ante in the fifth, with his jab a potent weapon, and a massive left hand had Wallin, who went the distance in defeat with Tyson Fury in 2019, reeling and in trouble.
With Wallin’s face a mess, he was wisely pulled out by his trainer Joey Gamache between rounds, confirming victory for Joshua, who will move on to a massive 2024.
Parker stuns Wilder
The co-main event pitted two former heavyweight world champions against each other, and Deontay Wilder saw his mooted meeting with Anthony Joshua go up in smoke as he was routed by Joseph Parker over twelve rounds to add the vacant WBC International belt to his WBO Intercontinental title.
It was a studious start by both, and after an opening round of little note, the second was also somewhat of a chess match, with the two reluctant to commit.
Parker (34-3, 23 KOs) was patient in his attacks, and doing pretty much as he pleased, but the pair finally exchanged in the fourth, with big blows landing for each.
It looked as though Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) was waiting for one big punch, but it wasn’t forthcoming in the first half of the fight as Parker went out into what looked like a healthy lead.
‘The Bronze Bomber’, who hadn’t fought since blowing out Robert Helenius in one round in October 2021, was caught by a big right hand in the seventh, and although he had success in the eighth, several raking right hands from Parker had the 38-year-old Alabama man in all sorts of trouble.
The New Zealander continued to stick to the gameplan, and Wilder was simply second best, and as the fight went to the last round, it was clear that the former WBC champion needed a knockout to win.
Try as he might, it didn’t happen, and the fight went to the cards.
Scores of 120-108, 118-110 and 118-111 secured a landslide win for the 31-year-old.
“Everyone had plans,” Parker told DAZN post-fight.
“Other plans. But this is gods plan.”
Wilder, 38, hinted that it could be the end of his career in his post-fight interview.
“We’ll see what happens,” he told DAZN.
“We still have a little bit left, but I did a great job managing my money.
“I’m a happy fighter. I’ll be back, and if not, then it’s been a pleasure.
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“I don’t know [if I still have the same fire I used to], a lot has calmed me down.
“I’ve been wearing this smile all week long and I’mma still wear it. Nothing can stop me on that.”
Bivol battles past brave Arthur
Dmitry Bivol hit Lyndon Arthur with the kitchen sink, but had to settle for a points win to add the IBO light heavyweight title to his WBA ‘super’ bauble.
Bivol (22-0, 11 KOs) began with mean intentions, winging in frenzied attacks early on, and Arthur (23-2, 16 KOs) was powerless to provide an answer to what was being dished out.
The Russian champion went through his repertoire, and turned the screw with every passing round, landing off a ramrod jab and several power punches.
By halfway it was one-way traffic, but Arthur had an encouraging eighth round, but he wasn’t able to do enough to win the sessions, and Bivol finally made the breakthrough in round 11, dropping the Brit with body shots.
Bivol gave it his all to force the stoppage, but the challenger held firm to hear the final bell.
The 33-year-old ran out the winner by three scores of 120-107.
Dubois halts Miller
Daniel Dubois dominated his meeting with Jarrell Miller, and scored a tenth and final round stoppage in a bruising encounter.
Dubois (20-2, 19 KOs) went for Miller (26-1-1, 22 KOs) from the off, but it was a struggle to keep the 333 pound American from smothering him in the early rounds.
The pair swung for the fences in the third, and it was gruelling and energy-sapping action.
‘Big Baby’ had his moments in rounds four and five, and continued to chug forward, but was eating a lot of jabs from Dubois, and he was starting to tire after halfway, with his output slowing.
The Brit was growing in confidence, and with Miller exhausted, ‘DDD’ went full throttle for the knockout in the final round.
The 26-year-old had his American rival tottering all over the ring from heavy power punches, leading to the referee jumping in with just seconds remaining.
Opetaia dispatches Zorro
Jai Opetaia vacated his IBF cruiserweight title in order to appear on this bill, and the Aussie blasted out the overmatched Ellis Zorro with seconds remaining of the first round.
Opetaia (24-0, 19 KOs) landed a massive single left hand that crumpled Zorro (17-1, 7 KOs) on impact.
Kabayal shocks Makhmudov
European heavyweight champion, Agit Kabayal stunned Arslanbek Makhmudov (18-1, 17 KOs) to take the NABF and WBA Intercontinental belts in a ruthless fourth round stoppage win.
Kabayal (24-0, 16 KOs) took advantage of Makhmudov’s poor movement and footwork, and he was under heavy fire in a torrid third.
“I shock the world maybe, huh?”
Agit Kabayel with a STATEMENT WIN over Arslanbek Makhmudov! 👊
— Boxing on TNT Sports (@boxingontnt) December 23, 2023
A body shot floored the Russian in the fourth, and he was floored again by a body attack not long after the resumption, and although he beat the count once more, another body blitz forced the referee’s intervention.
IBF number one ranked heavyweight, Filip Hrgovic (17-0, 14 KOs) did as expected against Mark De Mori (41-3-2, 36 KOs), and stopped the Australian inside a round.
Frank Sanchez (24-0, 17 KOs) laboured, but defended his WBC Continental Americas and WBO NABO heavyweight titles with a seventh round stoppage of Junior Fa.
Fa (20-3, 11 KOs) was down at the end of the sixth round, and twice more before the contest was waved off.