Former two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 27-3 (24) was back to his mecurial best as he stopped Swedish southpaw Otto Wallin 26-2 (14) in five rounds at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.
The 34-year-old British heavyweight simply had too much artillery for Wallin, who retired on his stool after the end of the fifth round.
It was a boxing mesterclass from Joshua, who worked behind a stiff and consistent jab to set up his big right hand. Wallin had no nswers for his methodical attack.
“I can’t grade my performance, my performance team will judge it for me, I’ll leave it up to them,” Joshua siad. “Not a throwback fight, another fight. I respect Otto. It was another day in the office.
“Victory by any means. Like Otto, we just want to do whatever it takes to be victorious. This game is like snakes and ladders, you can go down as well as you can go up.
“I am a gifted fighter that has a special gift. I work hard and today was my day. I am searching for greatness, not hopping around enjoying myself.”
The fight was the headline bout on the ‘Day of Reckoning’ card that was supported by five other heavyweight bouts and two world title fights at cruiserweight and light heavyweight.
In the second last bout of the evening former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder 43-3-1 (42) was upset by former WBO champion Joseph Parker 34-3 (23).
The doubleheader was expected to set up a long overdue fight between Joshua and Wilder but that fight now hangs in the balance.
“I wasn’t watching. I am just focusing on myself. I heard Deontay lost, so what, he’ll come back. Everything he said about me, I could rip him apart right now,” Joshua said.
“Everyone still wants to see that fight, right?”
If the Wilder fight is off the table, Joshua will target the winner of the heavyweight unification bout between WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine champion Oleksandr Usyk and WBC boss Tyson Fury 34-0-1 (24) in Saudi Arabia on February 17.
“I am one step at a time, but that would be great,” Joshua said of the opportunity to become a three-time world champion.
Joshua has been written off by some fans and pundits after his seventh-round knockout loss to Andy Ruiz Jr 35-2 (22) at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden in June 2019 and his back-to-back points losses to Usyk in September 2021 and August 2022.
But Joshua proved he still has some life left in him yet.
“This game is a treacherous business,” Joshua said. “It’s a slippery [climb]. One win gets you up the ladder, and a loss takes you all the way down. Every fight leads towards the final destination.
“I’ve got to continue to be victorious and it just happens naturally. We keep going otherwise it’s straight back down the ladder.”