Day of Reckoning full card results: Anthony Joshua demolishes Otto Wallin as Joseph Parker stuns Deontay Wilder

Anthony Joshua dismantled Otto Wallin over the course of five one-sided rounds but his next move uncertain after Deontay Wilder sensationally dropped a unanimous points decision to Joseph Parker in Riyadh.

Saturday’s “Day of Reckoning”, arranged by Turki Alalshikh and bankrolled by the Saudi Arabian government was supposed to set up a long-awaited meeting between Joshua and Wilder in March next year.

However, much like when Tyson Fury was pushed to the limit by boxing novice and MMA superstar Francis Ngannou in their “Battle of the Baddest” showdown in October, heavyweight boxing and forward-planning proved uneasy bedfellows.

Parker (34-3, 23 KOs) outboxed Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) throughout the contest, with one judge handing in a 120-108 shutout scorecard for the New Zealander, and even looked close to forcing a stoppage in round eight and a debilitating combination of age and inactivity caught up with a once-formidable but always limited heavyweight.

Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) upheld his part of the bargain with a display of eye-catching, controlled aggression under new trainer Ben Davison. Wallin’s nose was bloodied as early as round two and he suffered further facial damage before a sledgehammer right left the Swede tottering in round five. When he returned to his stool, his corner decided they had seen enough.

Joseph Parker

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Joshua and Wilder were the star attractions on a bill packed with elite big men. Daniel Dubois bounced back from his world title loss to Usyk against Jarrell Miller, beating up his outspoken and overweight opponent before forcing the stoppage in the closing seconds of the 10th and final round.

European heavyweight champion Agit Kabayel (24-0, 16 KOs) produced the first upset of the night as he magnificently broke down feared Russian puncher Arslanbek Makhmudov (18-1, 17 KOs) for a fourth-round stoppage. Frank Sanchez and the IBF’s No. 1 ranked heavyweights Filip Hrgovic preserved their own perfect records in contests of vastly contrasting quality.

Highly rated Cuban Sanchez (24-0, 17 KOs) took a while to warm up before flooring Junior Fa (20-3, 11 KOs)  three times en route to a seventh-round stoppage. Hrgovic (17-0, 14 KOs) scored a round one win over Mark De Mori (41-3-2, 36 KOs) that proved every bit as grotesque a mismatch in reality as it looked on paper.

When the card delved outside the heavyweight division, it did so for world title action. Pound-for-pound star Dmitry Bivol won every round and dropped Lyndon Arthur in the penultimate session to retain his WBA light heavyweight crown and stay on course for an undisputed showdown with Artur Beterbiev or Callum Smith. Lineal cruiserweight king Jai Opetaia produced a spectacular one-punch knockout to obliterate Ellis Zorro in the first and retain his Ring Magazine cruiserweight title.

Stay tuned as the Sporting News will provide the full card results here throughout the night. 

Day of Reckoning full card results

Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder: The one that got away… again

When Joseph Parker lost his WBO world title to Anthony Joshua in March 2018, the Briton and Deontay WIlder were each undefeated and held all four of the major heavyweight belts between them. After a punishing half decade of damaging setbacks, It’s perhaps fitting that Parker might have sounded the death knell on that superfight, having once been the final man cleared out of the way to make it happen.

There have been times in the interim period where, fights with Tyson Fury aside, Wilder has been the ferocious, showreel showstopper. A man to be feared, who perhaps an AJ in between form, styles and trainers feared. Team Joshua have always vehemently denied such suggestions and when you looked at both boxers tonight, it was worth asking what on earth he might have been scared of beyond the famous Wilder equaliser.

All those knockouts have made it easy to forget how rudimentary Wilder often looks in terms of overall skills. Throw in a long period of inactivity and a man now 38 years of age on the wrong side of those three wars with Fury, and there was very little left. The timing was off, the setups did not come off. Wilder flung shots at fresh air as Parker waltzed to a virtually drama-free victory.

By contrast, Joshua could not miss as he damaged Wallin’s nose and eye to leave his former amateur foe a bloody mess. After a year operating outside of world title action, Joshua and IBF No.1 Filip Hrgovic might get to box for that belt, should it become vacant as expected in the aftermath of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk’s undisputed fight. Alternatively, there’s the moneyspinning crossover bout with Francis Ngannou. Either way, Wilder is off the table. And probably for good this time.

Anthony Joshua

Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Dubois beats up Miller in redemption story as Kabayel rips up script against Makhmudov

The manner of Daniel Dubois’s two career defeats to Joe Joyce and Oleksandr Usyk has seen his heart and fighting spirit doubted. The Briton answered those questions and then some as he came through early pressure to break down and stop his motormouth tormentor.

As Saudi Arabia looks to make itself the centre of the heavyweight universe, Dubois has probably secured himself further handsome paydays. All being well, Miller will now be out of the equation. Having squandered his previous shot at the big time when he tested positive for multiple performance-enhancing drugs ahead of a proposed clash with Anthony Joshua, here the “Big Baby” wrecked his chances by tipping the scales at an absurd 333 lbs.

It meant his intelligent early pressure slowed to a lumbering plod by midway, leaving Miller exposed to Dubois’ ramrod jab and heavy right hands. During a ragged final session, Miller beckoned Dubois in, goading him to force the stoppage. The fact that he did should stand as the 35-year-old’s final humiliation on the big stage. 

Jarrell Miller and Daniel Dubois

Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

As Dubois found when he lost to Joyce in 2020, the next big thing in the heavyweight division is just that right up until the point when they’re not. This is the predicament Arslanbek Makhumudov finds himself in after suffering a humbling first career defeat to European heavyweight champion Agit Kabayel.

Makhmudov landed a few of his signature power shots but Kabayel’s superior footwork largely kept him out of trouble, while his frequent scoring with his backhand right showed a clear advantage in terms of speed. It was Kabayel’s body work that truly dismantled the hulking Russian, who was floored three times before referee Mark Lyson waved it off with a minute remaining in round four.

Opetaia makes statement to banish bitter IBF taste

Cruiserweight sensation Jai Opetaia arrived in Saudi undefeated, scored a spectacular win and left without his alphabet world title. That was because the IBF stuck stringently to their rules, stating that Opetaia’s next fight had to be against Mairis Briedis and stripping him earlier in the week. This is despite Briedis being sidelined through injury at present, having already lost to Opetaia (24-0, 19 KOs) in 2022.

The 28-year-old Australia strode into the arena still in possession of The Ring Magazine championship and determined to take out his frustration. He did so with violent eloquence, measuring the previously unbeaten but over-matched Ellis Zorro throughout the first round. The Englishman struggled to read Opetaia’s southpaw left throughout before dropping his right hand hazardously low during the closing seconds, allowing the champion to detonate a winging left hook. 

Zorro (17-1, 7 KOs) collapsed backwards and came to rest, completely dazed on the bottom rope. There are tougher tests to come for Opetaia but this was a statement of intent to suggest he is ready to devour all of them.

Sanchez and Hrgovic preserve perfect records

On a card featuring several fights with significant favourites, the word “showcase” was bandied about a lot during the build-up. Accomplished boxers were expected to give us a whirlwind demonstration of their skills before winning in style. Frank Sanchez showed the flaws of this arrangement during the early stages of his bout with Junior Fa as he laboured into the contest.

The Eddy Reynoso-trained Cuban was either off-target with big overhand rights or smothering his own work up close against Fa, the twice-beaten New Zealander coming off 14 months of inactivity. But round six, Fa had enough encouragement to open up land a couple of heavy shots. It proved his undoing as a Sanchez jab downstairs set up perfect overhand right to deposit him to the canvas.

Fa gamely got to his feet but a crunching jab to the head and follow-up right left him with nowhere to go in centre ring early in round seven and he tumbled under Sanchez’s follow-up barrage. It was all over when a roundhouse left and clipping right to the temple had Fa down again in the same session.

IBF No.1 challenger Filip Hrgovic, who is now favourite to fight Joshua next did not have to exercise his grey matter to anything like the same extent. Mark De Mori was shambolically overmatched when he lost to David Haye inside a round in January 2016.

The intervening eight years have brought about no discernable improvement and the 41-year-old had no answer from the moment the big Croatian boomed home a right hand to the temple. Mercifully, as their man turned his back on the ropes, De Mori’s corner threw in the towel to conclude 106 seconds of utter nonsense. 

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