By Anish Parekh
“WHEREVER you’re on this planet tune-in December 23 for one of many best boxing playing cards ever put collectively!” introduced the Queensberry Promotions X account on Wednesday (November 15).
A card that includes Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder in Saudi Araba actually brought on a stir and created intrigue amongst boxing followers across the globe when it was introduced on Wednesday night in London. Not solely that, it’s a not-so-subtle signal of what to anticipate subsequent if the 2 males overcome Otto Wallin and Joseph Parker two days earlier than Christmas.
Followers of a naïve or inexperienced nature will look in direction of this occasion because the precursor to one thing larger. They’ll assume Wallin and Parker merely function fodder earlier than the world inevitably will get the Joshua-Wilder conflict it has been pining for. However in a sport containing as a lot jeopardy as boxing, notably inside the treacherous panorama of the heavyweight division, the phrase “if” can’t be simply dismissed.
Otto Wallin already virtually derailed Wilder’s super-fight rematch with Tyson Fury, when, in 2019, he dragged the “Gypsy King” right into a determined warfare and opened up a gash above his eye that many felt warranted a stoppage. Joseph Parker, in the meantime, is a former titlist with good fundamentals, hand-speed, and expertise in opposition to prime opposition.
In culinary phrases, if this December 23 card is taken into account as one thing of a starter, what they’ve performed is let a few lunatics into the kitchen with the power to burn down the entire restaurant earlier than the primary course (Joshua-Wilder) is served.
Whereas nowhere close to as egregious a cash-grab as Fury vs. Francis Ngannou, there merely isn’t a requirement for a tune-up battle apart from to empty the cash-cows of each little bit of milk. The conflict of kinds and personalities between Joshua and Wilder has certainly marinated lengthy sufficient for boxing followers to fortunately half with their cash, but someway, seven years after they first concurrently held titles, followers are usually not simply made to attend to observe them battle however are requested to pay to see the potential of that conflict by no means taking place in any respect, with the heavy arms of Wallin and Parker prepared to show the “Day of Reckoning” into the “Day of Wrecked Goals”.
Joshua and Wilder are former titleholders, however each are of their 30s. They’ve been by means of some wars and are very possible previous their greatest. It’s as if the promoters, who unquestionably know extra concerning the sport than me, have instantly skilled reminiscence loss and forgotten the variety of instances completely laid plans have been torn up by disruptors similar to Buster Douglas, Andy Ruiz and so practically the aforementioned Francis Ngannou.
In equity, it is a good card. It is usually refreshing to have a lot of recognisable names all competing on the identical night time. Nonetheless, that maybe says extra concerning the poor high quality of undercards we’ve been accustomed to of late moderately than the supposed greatness of this one; notably once we take a look at how the UFC usually delivers occasions with vital and significant matchups.
I’ll admit, when it was introduced that Joshua and Wilder had been to battle on the identical card in Saudi Arabia, I cynically rolled my eyes and thought that it was so typical of boxing to evade the apparent matchup and danger the mega-fight with a money-fight. But, as a fan, I’m virtually instinctively compelled and conditioned to observe, regardless that I really feel silly for doing so.
However it’s with the hope of higher nights to return that, regardless of boxing’s fixed faltering, I imagine it would ultimately get issues proper; which means, on this occasion, Joshua-Wilder will ultimately be served because the passable feast famished followers of the candy science have to justify their claims that that is the best sport on this planet.