It’s a heavyweight blockbuster in Saudi Arabia this weekend with former two-time champion Anthony Joshua headlining the card against the dangerous Otto Wallin and an undercard that includes the likes of Deontay Wilder, Joseph Parker and Daniel Dubois.
At 34 and with two world titles already in the bank, people are now questioning if we have seen the best of Anthony Joshua already. Since surrendering his titles to Ukrainian genius Oleksandr Usyk, he has registered two wins against Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius, two fighters who are a couple of levels below world class.
The London born heavyweight has had four trainers in the last two years and his lack of direction was evident in those two fights with Franklin and Helenius. He came away with two victories, but looked lacklustre both times and now finds himself with questions to answer.
Otto Wallin is a dangerous heavyweight who spent a lot of his earlier years sparring world champions all over the world. He is now highly ranked with the governing bodies and has a respectable 26-1 (14KO) record. The sole defeat on his record was a very close points loss to Tyson Fury and he ran the champion close that night, proving that he can be competitive with anybody at the top of this heavyweight division.
Wallin will feel like he is getting Joshua at the right time and he has cut a confident figure during the fight week pleasantries in Saudi Arabia. Confident from the years of sparring he has done with the AJ; Wallin will know a victory here will put him in the conversation for huge fights next year.
At some point, Anthony Joshua needs to click back into gear if he wants to win another world championship and if there is ever a time, it’s this weekend. A mega fight with Deontay Wilder is already pencilled for March which brings added pressure but should mean ‘AJ’ goes searching for a knockout to make a statement.
Wallin is as tough as they come but this feels like a last chance for Joshua to prove he is still the man in boxing’s premium division and to do that he needs a stoppage. Despite his critics, he has won with his back against the wall before and he can do the same again here. Anthony Joshua to win by KO/TKO is the play at (13/8).
Looking to keep up his side of the bargain, former WBC king Deontay Wilder takes on Joseph Parker in the co-main event as always, he will be searching for a highlight reel knockout. Wilder is no longer unbeaten after suffering back-to-back defeats against Tyson Fury but with 42 knockouts in his 43 wins, he remains the biggest puncher in the heavyweight division.
Joseph Parker is still rebuilding his career after suffering a devastating knockout to Joe Joyce in 2022 but the Australian is very capable and if he was to beat Wilder, he would jump the queue and have an opportunity to become a two-time world heavyweight champion himself.
Wilder brings all the power here but this is arguably the most competitive fight on the card. Even when he has lost, Joseph Parker has always conducted himself well and he will ask questions of Wilder at some point in this fight.
Wilder is the deserved favourite but Parker is good enough to take this one deep and the fight to have at least seven completed rounds is worth some interest. (1/1).
The other fight to keep an eye on is between Daniel Dubois and Jarrell Miller. Dubois is fresh off a controversial stoppage loss to Oleksandr Usyk where he was accused of ‘quitting’ so he will be eager to put that behind him and standing in front of him this weekend is one of the most divisive characters in the sport.
Miller, who has repeatedly failed drugs test, is lucky to be even licenced as a professional boxer but somehow, he finds himself back on the big stage despite making enemies with everyone in the sport and being universally disliked by fans due to his willingness to continuously break drug laws.
As characters these two couldn’t be any different but stylistically, it is a very good matchup. Dubois is a naturally talented puncher but in his two career losses, he has shown mental weakness and that opens the door for a fighter like Miller who isn’t necessarily talented but he is a front foot fighter that tries to break the will of his opponents.
Dubois starts as the favourite but this is a bad stylistic matchup for the Brit. He is best when he is given space to throw power shots and the gameplan of Miller will be to get as close as he can to Dubois and try to bully him into submission. Dubois is the younger man, so you would expect he will have the better engine but he has wilted before and the suspicion is he may be put into that position again this weekend.
As an underdog, Jarrell Miller to win is worth some consideration. (2/1)
BACK Anthony Joshua to win by KO/TKO 2pts at 13/8 (⭐
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BACK At least seven completed rounds in Wilder vs Parker 1pt at 1/1 (⭐
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BACK Jarrell Miller to win 1pt at 2/1 (⭐
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PROFIT/LOSS (DEC 2023): LOSS -7.94 points