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Eddie Hearn hits out at Deontay Wilder for ‘ruining plans’ of Anthony Joshua super-fight

Hearn says Wilder’s stunning loss to Joseph Parker in ‘the most one-sided heavyweight fight I’ve seen’ scuppered the plans for a 2024 super-fight against AJ

Luke Baker
Sunday 24 December 2023 12:02 GMT
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Deontay Wilder suffered a one-sided loss to Joseph Parker in Riyadh
Deontay Wilder suffered a one-sided loss to Joseph Parker in Riyadh (Getty Images)

Eddie Hearn has hit out at Deontay Wilder for “ruining the plans” of a proposed heavyweight super-fight between Wilder and Anthony Joshua in 2024 after the American suffered a stunning defeat to Joseph Parker.

On a stacked card at ‘The Day of Reckoning’ in Riyadh, the 38-year-old Wilder was stunningly demolished by Parker in a 118-111, 118-110, 120-108 unanimous decision loss before Joshua impressed across five dominant rounds against Otto Wallin to force a corner stoppage.

It was an evening that reignited heavyweight boxing after a forgettable 2023 for the sport’s glamour division but it did disrupt plans for the long-anticipated match-up between Joshua and Wilder.

In the build-up to the Wallin fight, journalists reported that the pair had signed a two-fight deal for 2024 and although promoter Hearn insisted that nothing had yet been inked, he accepted that’s what things had been building towards.

And after the shock defeat, Hearn admitted he was frustrated at Wilder’s inability to dispatch Parker – causing the 2024 plans to change course.

"We all know what we were working towards but I said in the build-up I don't rate him [Wilder],” explained Hearn. “Joseph [Parker] did everything right tonight – Wilder had no idea, no clue.

“He lost 120-108, he lost every round. He had his hand up telling the referee he won the fight. He's not right. That's the reality. It was the most one-sided heavyweight fight I've seen. He had no power in the back-end of the fight.

“Listen, it's ruined our plans. The future is not Deontay Wilder. If anyone is going to ruin the plans though, I’m delighted for Joseph Parker and [trainer] Andy Lee. Top, top men.

“Was it an upset? I don’t know but I’ve said before, this guy’s never beaten an elite heavyweight. Anthony Joshua is leagues above Deontay Wilder.”

Joshua’s immediate future appears to now include a fight against unbeaten Croatian Filip Hrgovic, who inflicted a brutal first-round stoppage on Mark de Mori on the undercard in Riyadh.

There’s a chance that fight could even be for the IBF title, as Hrgovic is currently the mandatory bout for the belt held by Oleksandr Usyk but Usyk has opted to fight Tyson Fury in a unification contest instead.

It means that whoever wins that Fury vs Usyk bout in February may well drop the belt immediately afterwards if they opt for an expected rematch rather than taking on the less-lucrative Hrgovic, which would leave the Croat free to take on Joshua – who jumped above Wallin in the IBF rankings by beating the Swede – for the suddenly-vacant IBF belt.

“2024 will be a massive year for him [Joshua],” added Hearn. “It was a tough decision, between the championship and Wilder, we signed for Wilder, he lost, that’s OK.

“Maybe it’s a blessing. This guy is about championships, he wants to become a three-time world champion. Wallin was No 2. It’ll be Hrgovic vs AJ for the world title. I’m so happy to see him smiling and performing so well.”

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