Deontay Wilder claims Anthony Joshua would have retired to avoid facing him if he had won against Joseph Parker on Saturday night. The heavyweight giants were on a collision course to fight each other providing they won their respective bouts on the ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in Saudi Arabia.
Eddie Hearn confirmed that a deal had been signed for Joshua and Wilder to square off next year but those plans have been put on hold after Wilder fell to the third defeat of his career at the hands of Joseph Parker.
The American, who had only completed one round of boxing in just over two years since his trilogy fight with Tyson Fury, showed signs of ring rust as he was utterly outclassed by his adversary.
Meanwhile, Joshua put on one of the best performances of his career moments later, dismantling Otto Wallin en route to an impressive fifth-round stoppage win. AJ looked in complete control throughout and showcased excellent boxing fundamentals as he walked through the Swede with ease.
But Wilder claims Joshua only put on the performance he did as he was fighting with the knowledge that he wouldn’t have to box ‘The Bronze Bomber’ in his next outing. “They really don’t want that fight,” Wilder told 78SPORTSTV after his upset loss to Parker. “When I lost, did you see how happy he was coming out?
“I broke out laughing, I said, ‘That n***a’s happy as f***.’ I made him able to perform like that. He was like, ‘I ain’t gotta fight Wilder.’ The rumour was he was talking about retiring if I won… March 9th, the fight still can go on. But this is a perfect way for them to get out.”
The Wilder fight may be off the table for now but there are still big opportunities afoot for Joshua. A win against Wallin has elevated him to No 2 in the IBF rankings meaning he is in a primed position to face mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic for the vacant IBF world title once the belt is vacated following Oleksandr Usyk and Fury’s undisputed fight on February 17.
Usyk and Fury have a two-fight deal in place which clashes with the IBF’s mandatory plans so a vacant world title fight will likely be called between the No 1 (Hrgovic) and No 2 (Joshua) next year.