Posted on 11/15/2023
By: Sean Crose
They may not be facing one another, but former world heavyweight titlists Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua have been officially announced to highlight a stacked card in Saudi Arabia on December 23d. Former WBA, IBF and WBO titlist Joshua will be taking on a considerable challenge when he answers the bell that night to fight contender Otto Wallin. It was Wallin, after all, who almost gave Tyson Fury more than he could handle a few years back. The hard hitting Wilder, on the other gloved hand, will be facing another former heavyweight titlist in Joseph Parker. No world titles will be on the line, but these are competitive bouts. There’s no guarantee Wilder – or perhaps especially Joshua – will emerge victorious in Saudi Arabia.
Should both of the card’s top draws – Joshua and Wilder – emerge victorious, however, they are apt to fight each other in the near future. What’s more, the winner of THAT potential fight may (“may” being the operative word here) end up facing the winner of the upcoming Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk undisputed heavyweight championship saga, which itself is set to be officially announced on Thursday in Los Angeles. Yet, while Joshua and Wilder will be the main attractions December 23’d, other top players will be appearing on the card, as well.
The outspoken and always colorful Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller will be there in Saudi Arabia, taking on Daniel Dubois, the man who performed surprisingly well against Usyk just a short time ago. The undefeated Frank Sanchez will also fight that night. His opponent? Junior Fa, whose dropped two of his last three, although his last bout saw the New Zealander dusting Tussi Asafo in the very first round. Another menacing heavyweight, Filip Hrgovic, will be there as well in order to take on the widely unknown Mark De Mori.
Interestingly enough, WBA light heavyweight titlist – and Canelo Alvarez conqueror – Dmitry Bivol will be fighting that night, as well, taking on Lyndon Arthur. Impressive cruiserweight titlist Jai Opetaia will be there, too. Opetaia’s opponent who, like himself, is undefeated, will be Ellis Zoro. These fights, among others, makes this an extremely interesting card, as opposed to a flat card with an interesting main event. Although Joshua is undoubtedly the big attraction here, there are basically two main events on December 23d, Joshua-Wallin, and Wilder-Parker. Couple that with a lineup that’s notable down through its undercard and there is much for fans to like.
Is this a sign of more loaded cards to come? Here’s hoping.