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Deontay Wilder stunned by Joseph Parker to leave super-fight with Anthony Joshua in tatters

The American was beaten on all three scorecards, moments before Joshua’s victory over Otto Wallin

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Sunday 24 December 2023 00:09 GMT
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Day of Reckoning trailer

Deontay Wilder was dominated by Joseph Parker in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, losing a convincing decision to leave his planned super-fight with Anthony Joshua in tatters.

Wilder lost 118-111, 118-110 and 120-108 at the Day of Reckoning event in Riyadh, moments before Joshua’s victory overOtto Wallin in the same ring.

Talks have been ongoing over a heavyweight clash between former world champions Joshua and Wilder, with the fight expected to take place in Saudi Arabia in spring 2024. However, that mega-fight is now at serious risk after Wilder lost for the third time in his career, as Parker – another former world champion – became the second man to beat Wilder.

Tyson Fury, Parker’s teammate, is the only other fighter to have beaten the American, who relied on his power as usual on Saturday but did not come close to producing the knockout he needed.

New Zealand’s Parker was on the front foot throughout the opening rounds, though there was little output from either heavyweight, until Parker began to grow in confidence and unload his shots.

The 31-year-old thus began to build a solid lead over Wilder and unleashed a ferocious barrage of overhand rights and left hooks on the 38-year-old in round eight, threatening to produce a shocking stoppage.

Parker lands a brutal overhand right on an underwhelming Wilder (AFP via Getty Images)

The stoppage did not come, but neither did the comeback that Wilder needed to overturn Parker’s lead. The New Zealander survived Wilder’s best efforts to conjure a dramatic, late victory – the likes of which the American has managed before – and reached the final bell with his sizeable lead still intact.

“Just want to say, a lot of respect for Wilder. We trained very hard for this, we had momentum,” Parker said in the ring after the biggest win of his career. “I was really fit, stayed calm and relaxed, focused for every minute of every round.

“People had plans, but this was God’s plan. Merry Christmas to us. [It’s] a great finish to the year. I had to be aware at all times. He had a very hard right hand.

“Activity helped me massively, continuously [being] in camp and not getting out of shape,” Parker added, after his fourth fight of the year. “This is massive, the toughest opponent I’ve faced. I’m back! I’m ready for anything and everything.”

Wilder then bizarrely suggested that he had done enough to win, but admitted: “My timing was off a little bit. Joseph did a great job. No excuses tonight, a good fight, and we move on to the next thing.

Parker celebrates a career-best victory with his team (REUTERS)

“[The plan was to] stay calm and throw a couple of jabs and set up the right hand. Timing was off, he did a good job of avoiding and ducking. I felt I had the upper hand.”

When asked whether talks over a fight with Joshua had distracted him, Wilder said: “A little bit, a lot of talk about a lot of different things. I’m a happy fighter. I’m a warrior, I’ll be back soon. And if not, then it’s been an enjoyment and a pleasure. I appreciate everybody for the love and support over the years.”

Afterwards, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn added: “I said in the build-up, I don’t rate [Wilder]. Wilder had no idea, no clue. He lost every round. He had his hand up, telling the referees he won the fight. He’s not right. That’s the reality.

“It was the most one-sided heavyweight fight I’ve ever seen. It’s ruined our plans. We’ve got to go let Anthony Joshua know Wilder lost to Parker. We must win this fight [with Wallin], and after that, I’m nervous.”

Hearn had no need to be nervous, as Joshua – a former opponent of Parker – went on to beat Wallin in five rounds.

“AJ” was aggressive throughout and wobbled the Swede badly in the fifth round, after which Wallin’s team called off the bout.

The result marked Joshua’s third fight and third win this year, while Wilder’s bout with Parker was his first outing in 14 months.

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