Anthony Joshua batters a bloodied Otto Wallin in brutal stoppage… but misses out on mega £100m Deontay Wilder payday

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ANTHONY JOSHUA pushed aside the disappointment of his NINE FIGURE two-fight Deontay Wilder deal falling through by demolishing Otto Wallin in five rounds..

AJ, 35 and the 38-year-old American were supposed to win their Saudi Arabia semi-finals – against the Swede and Joseph Parker – and finally start their rivalry on March 9.

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Anthony Joshua celebrates victoryCredit: Getty
Joshua stopped Wallin in five rounds

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Joshua stopped Wallin in five roundsCredit: Getty

But just before Joshua had to make his high-pressure ringwalk – into the emptiest non-covid arena he has ever faced – Wilder was battered and seemed on the cusp of retirement.

It must have a horrible blow to the London 2012 legend but he his anger and frustration on his two-time amateur opponent and made it a hat-trick.

The Sweden hero had the confidence to walk across the desert arena to Abba’s ‘Winner Takes It All’ anthem.

The loser had already fallen in the previous fight, with Alabama’s biggest puncher self sabotaging with a stinking Parker performance.

Even with the Wilder fight in ashes, AJ didn’t emerge waving the white flag, he wore it embossed with diamonds from head-to-toe.

AJ’s start was as bright as his kit, he pawed out his lead left hand to block and nullify Wallin’s southpaw jab.

And he drove a handful of malicious right hands toward the underdog’s fleshier torso.

In one instance when he knew he had got too greedy with an attack, he nodded in mature acceptance.

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Wallin’s nose was busted open early in the three by two hard doses of southpaw kryptonite.

A trio of straight stiff right backhands ripped through Wallin’s guard and popped his nose, undoubtedly making it hard for him to breath, with so much of the fight still to go.

Josh got a useful warning in the third when he targeted Wallin’s body too obviously and got a clip around the ear as he crouched down.

It was one of the few moments of success for the leftie whose nose was streaming and gut was taking a regular pasting.

AJ landed a good few more right hands in the fourth too, the younger more spiteful version might have sustained the attack but he was happy impressing the judges and chipping away at Wallin’s resolve.

Wallin was staggered by a one-two at the start of the fifth too, this 18sy version of AJ was powerful and precise without taking risks.

And a brilliant left hook almost knocked Wallin spark out, legs as solid as an Ikea table – aided by the ropes – kept him vertical.

But the right side of his face was clearly obliterated and a purple mess. 

When the referee went over to check the almost instant damage that grew out of Wallin’s face, he knew to wave it off immediately.

If anyone was genuinely worried about the 34-year-old’s mindset and focus before Deontay Wilder blew their mega-money plans, they would have wanted the returned shrink Dr Frazer Crane raced over to Riyadh to check on the London 2012 legend.

If Joshua had the 12-round domination of the Bronze Bomber on a TV in his dressing room, he would have set through a 36-minute horror show that slowly sapped at his inspiration and brutalised his planned 2024 earnings.

Long before Wilder fumbled the bag in the most miserable of ways, AJ knew he was in for a testing night, with 13 years to prepare for the Swedish southpaw and former prison warden.

In 2010 – just a few months after being released from a spell on remand at Reading prison – he won the respected Haringey Box Cup by beating the leftie at darts Mecca Ally Pally.

And he did the double over his fellow novice six months later when they met on Wallin’s home soil.

And in 2015 – when Joshua needed southpaw sparring ahead of his first world title shot against southpaw Charle Martin – the pair did sparring rounds up in Sheffield to help Joshua’s career skyrocket.

Wallin felt his work with mentally unstable prisoners in his previous career – and his decade working with his own sports psychologist – gave him the mental edge over the Englishman.

Swapping over four trainers in his last five fights and drastically changing his boxing style from ruthless knockout actionman to cautious point-scoring boxer, was also seen as a sign that AJ’s once-white-hot star was on the wane.

Momentum was definitely with the underdog, following the 2019 fight with Tyson Fury that any decent ringside doctor and referee would have stopped in his favour, after he whacked a 47-stitch gash into the Gypsy King’s eye.

And in September he went to the lion’s den of Turkey to face Armenian Murat Gassiev and upset the odds officially with the judges who owed him more than a split decision.

But he was no match for the latest version of AJ and new trainer Ben Davison who celebrated a bitter-sweet win.





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