Will Anthony Joshua fight Deontay Wilder next following Day of Reckoning boxing card?

After all these years, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder will be in the same ring on the same night. However, they won’t stare across from one another in Saudi Arabia on December 23. At least not initially.

Boxing’s biggest stars compete in separate bouts on the Day of Reckoning fight card set to air on DAZN PPV. Joshua faces Otto Wallin, who previously fought Tyson Fury. Meanwhile, Wilder fights Joseph Parker, a former champion who faced Joshua at one point. Both are tough challenges for Joshua and Wilder, once on top of the world, now former champions. 

Saudi Arabia will see plenty of big combat sports fights in the area come 2024. The UFC heads there for the first time in March, while WWE continues its long partnership with the General Entertainment Authority. On the boxing side, Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk finally fight on February 17 to determine the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis edged Evander Holyfield in 1999.

If Joshua and Wilder can prevail over their opponents, they could be the favorites to face the winner of Fury vs. Usyk. But what about fighting each other? 

Will Anthony Joshua fight Deontay Wilder? 

The long-standing quest for Joshua and Wilder to lock horns has been on the minds of boxing fans since about 2017 when Joshua was the unified heavyweight champion, and Wilder held the WBC title. However, mandatory fights and contract disputes led to the fight falling through. 

Things took a turn when Joshua lost the belts against Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019, and after regaining the belts lost against Oleksandr Usyk, who was a cruiserweight when initial negotiations were happening. Meanwhile, Wilder was preoccupied with a trilogy against Fury, with the series going 2-0-1 in favor of Fury. Signing with different networks didn’t help bring the fight any closer. 

However, ESPN was the first to report that if the two win their fights in Saudi Arabia, they will fight one another on March 9 in Riyadh. 

WATCH: Joshua vs. Wallin on DAZN PPV

“The reason that fight is happening with both on the same night is to prepare for and build a fight between the two,” Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn told ESPN. ”So, the contracts aren’t signed, talks continue. But everybody wants to make that fight.”

If they both win on Saturday, Joshua and Wilder may have a staredown for the ages in the middle of the ring. How sure are we that will happen?

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Joshua is the betting favorite against Wallin, as is Joshua against Parker. One thing we have learned in boxing is never to underestimate your opponent. Fury fought former UFC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in a boxing fight in October in Saudi Arabia. While Fury won and was the favorite, Ngannou knocked down “The Gypsy King” early on, causing quite a scare to boxing historians who scoffed at the notion Ngannou could be a tough test for Fury. 

Given his history with Fury, Wilder understands that nothing is guaranteed. 

MORE: Anthony Joshua: I’ll leave boxing when I’m at the bottom

“That’s the biggest fight in the world,” Wilder told Sky Sports. “Now the moment has come where it’s the closest that it’s ever been in history right now. The closest that it’s ever been. I’m excited to say that. I’m not 100% sure that it’s going to happen. There’s a lot of things that has gone on, a lot of things that has been done. You can’t be 100% until that bell rings and that first punch has been thrown.”

All eyes will be on both big men to see if 2024 will finally be the year they cross paths and trade fists. 

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