Anthony Joshua welcomed the fighting words that Otto Wallin had for him during their intense but professional post-presser face-off.
Both boxers were relatively cordial during the kickoff press conference to formally announce the December 23 ‘Day of Reckoning’ super card on which they will co-headline in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Sweden’s Wallin had considerably more to say during their obligatory staredown following the press session Wednesday at OVO Arena Wembley in London.
“He was just talking a lot,” Joshua told DAZN’s Todd Grisham during a platform-exclusive interview after the press conference. “He was saying he’s gonna beat me and all this stuff.
“Talk is cheap, all he’s doing is digging a bigger grave. It’s good, though. It’s what we need, a little trash talk. This is prizefighting.”
Joshua-Wallin anchors an eight-fight card which features six other heavyweight bouts. Included among the lot is a battle between former heavyweight titlists Deontay Wilder (43-2-1, 41KOs) and Joseph Parker (33-3, 26KOs). There is heavy speculation that Joshua and Wilder are on a collision course to meet once—if not twice—in 2024 with wins in December.
Such a fight is only part of Joshua’s current mission, which is to reclaim the heavyweight throne.
The 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and former two-time heavyweight titlist from Watford, England has enjoyed an active and productive 2023 campaign after he suffered back-to-back defeats to Oleksandr Usyk (21-0, 14KOs). The first loss ended his second WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight title reign, which he failed to restore in their rematch last August in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Two wins have followed to lead to his first three-fight campaign since 2016, his first year as a heavyweight titlist. The 34-year-old Brit is dismissive of claims that his best days are behind him, so he welcomes any motivation that will lead to another title run. Wallin (26-1, 14KOs) has won his last six starts, which will only further satisfy Joshua’s appetite with a win.
“This isn’t a one-stop shop. There’s a road map with check points,” insisted Joshua. “This isn’t my final destination; this is my first stop. December 23 I’ll deliver that message. I’ll be on my way to bigger and better in 2024. I’m fully focused on this fight. I’m determined to win and determined to get back to my peak, if that’s what they want to call it.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox