Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder could be announced tonight as date set | Boxing | Sport

Anthony Joshua’s long-awaited fight with Deontay Wilder could be officially announced tonight – provided both boxers win on the ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in Saudi Arabia. Joshua faces Otto Wallin in a headline heavyweight contest at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh while Wilder fights Joseph Parker in the co-main bout.

AJ weighed in with a 13lb advantage against Swede Wallin but has admitted there is “no future” for him if he loses the fight. If he wins, though, the 34-year-old is poised to finally step into the ring against Wilder, an opponent he has been slated to face for more than five years.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed there is a “proposed date” for the bout and that the pair must both achieve victories “without any damage”. Wilder, 38, is significantly lighter than Parker but is targeting a knockout win to add to his fearsome tally of 42 KOs.

And should he do the business, and Joshua – who is 26-3 having lost to Oleksandr Usyk in his previous fight in Saudi Arabia in August last year – then also wins, BBC’s boxing expert Steve Bunce has suggested Joshua vs Wilder could be formally announced within hours.

He confirmed on BBC Breakfast this morning: “If they both win it will be announced probably by 3.15am Saudi time, 12.15am UK. It will be announced that March 9th, back in Riyadh, Joshua and Wilder. This boxing business never ceases to amaze me and I live in amazing times.”

Asked who has the harder fight tonight between Joshua and Wilder, he explained: “I think it’s some sort of a 49-51 and a 50-50. I think Joshua against Wallin is incredibly hard. I just like the look of what I’ve seen from Joshua this week, I like what’s in his eyes, I like what’s in his words.

“I’ve been interviewing him for about 12 years or so. He did something to me a couple of days ago, when he was talking to me just before he said goodbye, he put his hand on my shoulder and he said, ‘Steve I’ll be OK.’

“He hasn’t done that since before he fought Wladimir Klitschko. I fancy Joshua to do his. The odd one is the Wilder fight against this New Zealander Joseph Parker who is based in Morecambe and trains with Tyson Fury.

“Wilder has fought two minutes, 57 seconds in two years and three months. Parker is just a strong good guy, a former world champion himself. That’s the jeopardy.”

It is not just Joshua and Wilder fighting tonight, the incredible card also includes Daniel Dubois vs Jarrell Miller – the disgraced boxer slated to fight Joshua before testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs – plus Filip Hrgovic vs Mark De Mori and Dmitry Bivol vs Lyndon Arthur.

Previewing the action-packed card, Bunce added: “There are eight fights, 16 boxers. I reckon there are 10 of the top 15 heavyweights in the world on this particular bill. It’s going to last for eight hours out here in Saudi Arabia, broadcast on various television and radio broadcasts including 5Live in the UK.

“There’s at least four or five must-win fights here involving at least eight or nine boxers whose very careers are on the line. It sells itself!”

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