Joshua still open to fighting Wilder following shock Parker defeat

Anthony Joshua has refused to rule out facing Deontay Wilder despite the former WBC heavyweight champion’s upset defeat to Joseph Parker in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The heavyweight mainstays shared the same billing, with Joshua headlining the Day of Reckoning event with Wilder as the co-main. 

Joshua was impressive, defeating Otto Wallin after five dominating rounds, which saw the Swede fail to come out of his corner to begin the sixth. Wilder, meanwhile, was outfought, outgunned and ultimately outboxed by the former WBO heavyweight title holder Parker, with the New Zealander earning scores of 120-108, 118-111 and 118-110. 

Joshua and Wilder had agreed terms and signed contracts which would have seen the former heavyweight champions finally come to blows after a rivalry spanning the seven years.

Speaking at the post-fight press conference, Joshua refused to rule himself out facing Wilder despite the latter’s defeat, believing the contest would still be a strong pull at the box office and a challenging fight for both. 

“Wilder just came up short, but he’ll live to fight another day,” Joshua said. “Me and him could still get it on, [we] could still get it cracking. I believe I’m a massive threat myself, and Wilder’s a threat, and I still think it does amazing numbers if we get it on.

“But I’ll leave that down to my management, my trainers, promoters to make the decision. I’m down to fight anyone whenever, whoever.” 

While sitting next to Joshua at the press conference table, promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed that contracts had been agreed and signed for a heavyweight showdown between Joshua and Wilder. If Wilder had been successful against Parker, an announcement would have been confirmed after Joshua’s victory over Wallin. 

“We had signed the Wilder contract,” said Hearn. “It was going to be announced tonight but it’s boxing. If anyone was going to beat him, I was pleased it was [Joseph Parker] because I didn’t really give [Wilder] a round. It was a strange performance.”