Joshua Wilder: Best Performances from the Five Biggest Names on the Dec. 23rd Card

On November 14th, it was announced that the boxing world would be in for one final treat in 2023, and what a treat it looks set to be. Both Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder will be in action in separate bouts, as will reigning light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol. A number of heavyweight contenders will also be on the card including the ikes of Otto Wallin, Joseph Parker, Jerrell Miller and Daniel Dubois.

With the blockbuster card fast approaching, we decided to take a look at the best performances from the biggest names on the card.

Dmitry Bivol Defeats Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez

Dmitry Bivol has been relatively inactive and hasn't fought in the entirety of 2023. That comes to an end on December 23rd when he defends his WBA (Super) light-heavyweight title against British contender Lyndon Arthur. He will be heavily favoured to pick up the victory in that contest, a stark contrast to his May 2022 clash against pay-per-view king Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.

The Mexican sensation was - and still is - the biggest star in boxing and his clash against the former amateur star was expected to be a comfortable victory. He had knocked out fellow Russian Sergey Kovalev in his only previous trip up to light heavyweight and fans were expecting a similar performance at the T-Mobile Arena. What they were treated to, however, was anything but what they expected.

Bivol showed incredible skill and perseverance, outboxing his more illustrious challenger at every turn. He managed to keep the fight at a distance and used his jab and superior size and reach to keep Canelo at bay, earning a narrow but deserved unanimous decision victory. Should he defeat Arthur this December, all roads will lead to a unification clash with another Russian fighter, knockout artist Artur Beterbiev.

Anthony Joshua KO’s Wladimir Klitschko

There can be no denying that Anthony Joshua's stock has certainly lessened in recent years courtesy of back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk. While the Ukrainian will now face off against Tyson Fury in February to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion since the days of Lennox Lewis at the turn of the millennium, AJ must get past Sweden's Otto Wallin, a fight that Bovada Sportsbook makes him the -450 favorite to win.

While he may not be the powerhouse he once was, few bouts in history have been as epic and iconic as the British Olympic gold medal winner battled it out against former heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko. The bout was a back-and-forth affair, with both fighters hitting the deck. However, it was AJ who managed to get the knockout victory after planting a massive uppercut on the jaw of the Ukrainian that sent him into another dimension.

While Dr Steelhammer beat the count, he only prevented the inevitable, and AJ would pour it on in the 11th round and secure the TKO victory.

Otto Wallin Almost Defeats Tyson Fury

In the world of boxing, Tyson Fury is for many the consensus pick as the number one heavyweight on the planet, Whether he actually is or not will be decided early next year, but one man who very nearly had his number is Sweden's Otto Wallin. Many expected the Gypsy King - fresh off a blistering first fight against Deontay Wilder - to comfortably get the victory, but the fight turned out to be not as easy as Fury claimed it would be.

Wallin delivered some shocking blows to Fury, opening up a deep cut above his eye that looked like it would end the fight. Unfortunately, 'All-In', Fury would maintain his composure and secure a unanimous decision victory, but not before Wallin had announced himself to the world.

Deontay Wilder Earns a Spirited Draw Against Tyson Fury

Deontay Wilder is a knockout artist. He’s made a name for himself by delivering one-punch knockout finishes that leave fans in awe. While his knockouts against the likes of Luis Ortiz and Dominic Brezeale immediately spring to mind, for us, it was his first encounter with Tyson Fury that was his best performance.

Fury had the upper hand for most of the fight courtesy of his superior skillset and lateral movement, but Wilder kept his cool and picked his spots. He dropped Fury twice and only god knows how he didn't knock his opponent out in the last round with a spell-binding right-left combo. But Fury did indeed rise from the dead and was awarded a draw for his troubles by the judges.

The pair have faced off in a further two bouts since, with the current WBC heavyweight champion earning two knockout victories. But Wilder certainly proved in the first bout that he is more than a one-trick pony,

Joseph Parker Narrowly Outpoints Andy Ruiz to Become WBO Champion

Boxing is feared not only for the strength of its fighters and their ruthlessness but also for the fact that a single punch can turn the tide of a fight. Joseph Parker will have to find a way to navigate that fear as he steps into the ring with the feared Wilder on December 23rd. But he has proven that he can hold his own with hard hitters before. The Kiwi star faced off against hard-hitting American Andy Ruiz in 2015 with the 2015 WBO title on the line, and it was the now-31-year-old who would go on to claim the v victory.

The matchup was a tense affair, with both Parker and Ruiz refusing to flinch. It was a back-and-forth chess match that could have gone either way. But it was Parker’s tenacity and aggression that won the day. He outworked Ruiz, bringing his powerful job and relentless pressure to bear. Ruiz would have to wait another four years for his crowning moment, and what a moment it was, shockingly knocking out Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden to become one of the heavyweight division’s kingpins.

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