Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder ‘next opponents come to light’ for Saudi card

Anthony Joshua vs Otto Wallin and Deontay Wilder vs Joseph Parker may reportedly be on the same bill in Saudi Arabia next month. Boxing fans had hoped to see AJ and Wilder face off against each other this year but both parties were unable to come to an agreement on the finances to stage the contest in 2023.

As a result, they will box different opponents on the same card, according to American boxing journalist Dan Rafael. The bill is expected to take place on December 23, the originally proposed date of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk’s undisputed showdown.

Fury’s disappointing display against Francis Ngannou last month has led to the four-belt shootout being pushed back to February while Joshua and Wilder will fill the vacant slot. The heavyweight giants are currently understood to be working on a deal with Turki Alalshikh of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority for a pair of fights in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

And now, their opponents have come to light. The Daily Mirror claims Joshua is in talks to face Fury’s old foe Wallin while Wilder is negotiating a bout against former WBO heavyweight champion Parker.

Dmitry Bivol is also expected to defend his WBA light-heavyweight world title against Richard Rivera on the same card while British heavyweight contender Daniel Dubois is set to be in action as well. Frank Warren, who is involved in promoting the event due to his client Dubois’ inclusion on the card, recently teased a “massive night” of boxing on December 23 after confirming that Fury vs Usyk is now “unrealistic” for the back end of the year.

“There’s gonna be a big night in December,” Warren told talkSPORT, “We’ll be announcing it very soon and it will be massive. You’re gonna love it, I promise you you’re gonna love it.

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“I can’t give you all the information at the moment, but everything’s going in the right direction for something to be a historical night of boxing. It’s gonna feature boxers from all over the world. You will be surprised by the names. There’s some great fights involving British fighters too.”

The card certainly looks as though it will live up to Warren’s billing but there will no doubt be widespread disappointment that it isn’t Joshua and Wilder headlining the show. 

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