“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” Robert Burns, To a Mouse.
Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder had an agreement to finally face each other in March 2024 after years of anticipation. All they had to do was win their respective fights against Otto Wallin and Joseph Parker at the “Day of Reckoning” event at Kingdom Arena in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua held up his end of the bargain with a knockout win in the main event. However, Wilder was unable to pick up the win when he was dominated by Joseph Parker and dropped a unanimous decision.
And thus the plans for a highly-anticipated showdown between Joshua and Wilder have been blown to bits.
Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) looked brilliant in the main event as he worked behind a powerful jab and busted up Wallin to the point where his Swedish opponent was unable to answer the bell for the sixth round.
The former unified heavyweight champion admitted that he didn’t watch Wilder lose his fight and it didn’t have any bearing on how he would perform against Wallin. What we saw was a disciplined Joshua pick apart Wallin and pick up his third win of 2023 after losing back-to-back fights to Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and 2022.
“He’s back,” Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said. “I believe this Anthony Joshua is the best heavyweight in the world.”
Hearn suggested that Joshua would instead face Filip Hrgovic for what is expected to be the IBF championship which is set to be vacated in the Spring with Tyson Fury and Usyk slated for two fights. Hrgovic scored a first-round knockout earlier in the night over unheralded opponent Mark De Mori.
Joshua worked beautifully behind the jab and Wallin was unable to get around it. Every time that Wallin sought to push forward, Joshua would put a powerful right hand behind it or go to the body. As the rounds went on, Joshua stuck to the game plan and the damage began to show on Wallin’s face.
In the fifth round, Joshua landed a massive combination that sent Wallin into the ropes and had him on shaky legs. Joshua remained patient and slammed the jab into Wallin’s face as the round came to a close. Wallin’s corner had seen enough and rescued their fighter from further damage to give Joshua the stoppage victory.
Deontay Wilder had no such luck against Joseph Parker in a lethargic performance that never saw the former WBC heavyweight champion get out of first gear or put together a sustained attack.
Much praise should be given to Parker as he stayed composed and defensively responsible throughout the fight to avoid being a victim of Wilder’s devastating power.
The ever-looming danger of Wilder’s power began to evaporate as the rounds wore on and appeared to be buried in the eighth round when Parker landed a bomb of an overhand right that hurt the American. Although Wilder would survive the round, the idea that he would come from behind and finish Parker evaporated with that salvo from Parker.
By the time the final bell rang, there was no doubt that Parker won with scores of 120-108, 118-111 and 118-110.
Wilder simply had no answers for Parker, who has now won four consecutive fights after being stopped by Joe Joyce in 2022. At the age of 38 and with a listless performance, it may be time for Wilder to consider hanging up the gloves.
Elsewhere, Dmitry Bivol retained his WBA light heavyweight title by dominating Lydon Arthur, Daniel Dubois shut the mouth of Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller with a 10th round knockout and Jai Opetaia obliterated Ellis Zorro in the first round of their cruiserweight battle.
Here’s how it all went down in Saudi Arabia.
Day of Reckoning updates, results, highlights
Anthony Joshua dominates Otto Wallin, forces him to quit after five rounds
Round Six: Wallin can’t answer the bell and this fight is over!
SN Unofficial Scorecard: —
Round Five: Joshua goes to the body with a right hand. Left hand is followed by a hard right from Joshua. Very measured attack from Joshua thus far. Wallin just can’t get around the jab. Big combination rocks Wallin. He stumbles into the ropes and Joshua is coming forward. Joshua’s in pursuit and lands a hard right hook. Wallin appears to be okay after taking a pair of big shots but he’s down big.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Joshua (50-45 Joshua)
Round Four: Counter right from Joshua lands to open the round. Not a lot of action but Joshua is in control. Hard right hand from Joshua splits Wallin’s guard. Joshua wraps a hook around Wallin’s gloves. AJ cranking up the pressure as Wallin hasn’t given him much to worry about.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Joshua (40-36 Joshua)
Round Three: Joshua lands a right hand and follows with a right to the body. Wallin returns fire and lands his own right hand. Big right to the body and a combination from Joshua. Another right hand from Joshua lands clean. Wallin is taking the punches well so far. Joshua continues to work off the jab and lands a left hook that knocks Wallin off balance. Joshua is beginning to mark up Wallin’s face.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Joshua (30-27 Joshua)
Round Two: Joshua jabs and puts a right hand over the top. Wallin attempts to pick up the pace and graces Joshua with a left hand. Straight right from Joshua lands clean. Another lands and Wallin tries to respond. Straight right to the body from Joshua. A big right hand from Joshua misses. Wallin lands a left to the head but eats a jab as the round comes to a close.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Joshua (20-18 Joshua)
Round One: Joshua takes the center of the ring and begins working the jab. Big right hand to the body backs Wallin off. A lot of pressure from Joshua. More jabs. Wallin can’t find anything as Joshua continues to hold court. An easy round for Joshua off the strength of the jab.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Joshua
6:03 p.m. ET: Well, now that plans for a Joshua-Wilder fight have been destroyed, can Anthony Joshua stay focused and pick up the win against Otto Wallin? Let’s find out.
5:54 p.m. ET: An absolutely embarrassing outing from Deontay Wilder as Joseph Parker outclasses him for 12 rounds. Those plans for a Joshua-Wilder fight have been blown to bits. Wilder never set up the knockout and Parker boxed brilliantly to neutralize the power. Unbelievable.
Joseph Parker dominates Deontay Wilder with unanimous decision
Scores: 118-111, 118-110 & 120-108
Round Twelve: Wilder is going for it with 90 seconds left but Parker won’t go away. Parker jabs and lands a short left hand. Wilder swinging for the fences. Parker smothering and clinching. 30 seconds left. Parker jumps in and lands a left hook. 15 seconds from the upset. Parker holds on and this one is over!
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Parker (120-108 Parker)
Round Eleven: Wilder starts to jab in hopes of creating an opening. A pair of jabs from Parker stifle Wilder’s movement. Wilder lands a right hand to the top of the head but Parker responds with an overhand right and eliminates the space Wilder needs to land. Wilder tries the same right hand but Parker dips away. Left hand from Parker lands. An absolutely brilliant fright from Parker.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Parker (110-99 Parker)
Round Ten: Parker pops the jab and moves Wilder off his mark. Wilder getting more aggressive. He knows he’s behind. Can Parker be defensively responsible to avoid the power? Hard left hand from Parker lands as he runs Wilder into the ropes. Wilder continues to wait for the perfect shot but Parker isn’t giving it to him. Wilder misses a long right hand. Parker lands a right hand and Wilder goes for an uppercut that is blocked. Another round for Parker.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Parker (100-90 Parker)
Round Nine: Parker is boxing brilliantly. A left hand is followed by a right hand from Parker that lands. Wilder steps in with a right hand but is missing by a mile. A massive left hand from Parker lands as Wilder leans back on the ropes. Wilder has done absolutely nothing. Wilder coming forward but Parker backs him up with a left hand.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Parker (90-81 Parker)
Round Eight: It goes without saying but Deontay Wilder needs a knockout. Parker double jabs to the body. As long as Parker doesn’t lose focus, he has this upset in the bag. Easier said than done. Wilder lands a hard right hand that catches some of the glove. Parker comes back with a body shot. Parker triples up the jab and lands two of them. Parker lands a bomb on Wilder and he’s hurt! Parker is all over Wilder! He’s badly hurt but escapes the round.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Parker (80-72 Parker)
Round Seven: Parker bullies his way inside and lands a left hand. The danger of the knockout punch is present but it’s slipping away for Wilder. A right hand from Wilder barely misses and he’s starting to build some offense. Overhand right from Parker nails Wilder.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Parker (70-63 Parker)
Round Six: Parker jabs up top and to the body. Parker continues to hold court in the middle of the ring as Wilder does nothing. Does he have a Plan B? Parker steps in with a short left hand and clinches. Parker with another right hand that lands clean. Parker barely misses an overhand right. Wilder lands a straight right. Big right hand lands over the top as the round comes to a close.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Parker (60-54 Parker)
Round Five: Parker steps in with a jab and then tags Wilder with a left hand. Nothing overly dangerous landing but Parker is winning by outworking and landing Wilder. A right hand for Parker lands again. He’s racking up the points. Wilder is waiting for Parker to make a mistake and Parker hasn’t made one.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Parker (50-45 Parker)
Round Four: Parker continues to hold court in the middle of the ring. Wilder misses a hook and Parker lands a big right hand. Wilder responds with one of his own. Left and a right land for Parker. Business is picking up. Wilder starting to jab. Hard combination from Parker. Wilder tries to respond but misses.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Parker (40-36 Parker)
Round Three: Wilder is being extremely cautious and looking for one big shot. Parker goes to the body. Parker stepping up the aggression a little more. Parker lands a left hand and Wilder misses a short uppercut. Parker double jabs and backs Wilder up. Parker with a right hand over the top as the round closes.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Parker (30-27 Parker)
Round Two: Parker barely misses a big right hand as Wilder pulls away. Wilder shoots a jab that’s off the mark. Parker rolls inside and goes to the body. Wilder lands a short left hand. He still hasn’t landed anything noteworthy.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Parker (20-18 Parker)
Round One: Parker takes the center of the ring as Wilder circles. Both are probing jabs. Parker lands a right hand over the top. Very tedious thus far. Parker sneaks a good right hand around the guard. The lack of action gives the round to Parker.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Parker
4:33 p.m. ET: We’re approaching the co-main event as Deontay Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs) and Joseph Parker (33-3, 23 KOs) are set to do battle. Wilder must win in order to secure a megafight with Anthony Joshua, who must also win in the co-main event. Can Wilder get the job done? We’re going to round-by-round coverage of the co-main event next.
Dmitry Bivol retains WBA title with total domination over Lyndon Arthur
Scores: 120-107, 120-107 & 120-107
4:22 p.m. ET: We have finally had a fight go the distance but it wasn’t competitive at any point as Bivol swept every single scorecard. It also wasn’t terribly exciting. Not really the performance that will have people running to see Bivol fight but he remains to be one of the best in the world. Can we get the undisputed light heavyweight fight next between Bivol and the winner of Beterbiev-Smith next month?
4:15 p.m. ET: In the final seconds of the 11th round, Bivol delivered a left hook to the body that dropped Arthur. The challenger managed to rise but can Bivol finish the job and extend the evening of consecutive knockouts?
4:08 p.m. ET: There really hasn’t been much to say about this fight because Bivol is winning but not necessarily doing anything exciting to get there. Bivol continues to jab and look to work off the stick while Arthur just doesn’t have what it takes to make this interesting. Would we like to see Bivol gun for the finish? Sure. Will he? Probably not. This is a very Bivol kind of fight.
3:55 p.m. ET: Through six rounds it has been one-way traffic. Not necessarily the most exciting fight but Dmitry Bivol is in total control. Bivol has kept Arthur from doing much of anything behind the power jab. Bivol will occasionally fire a right hand after the set up and Arthur hasn’t done much of anything to take him out of his game.
3:41 p.m. ET: We are seeing a version of Dmitry Bivol that we haven’t seen in quite some time through two rounds. He’s ultra-aggressive and uses pressure to break down Arthur. Bivol hasn’t scored a knockout since stopping Sullivan Barrera back in 2018. That eight-fight streak without a finish may end tonight.
3:12 p.m. ET: We’re getting closer to the two heavyweight main events as Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) is up next and will defend his WBA light heavyweight title against Lyndon Arthur (23-1, 16 KOs). It’s not too often we get to see one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world on the third fight before the main event.
Daniel Dubois silences Jarrell Miller with stoppage in final seconds
2:52 p.m. ET: Even though the win appeared to be in hand, Daniel Dubois went for the finish and took out Jarrell Miller with just seconds left in the fight. With Miller clearly slowed down and susceptible to the finish, Dubois stepped on the gas and fired a wicked salvo of punches that sent Miller careening into the ropes. Dubois refused to allow “Big Baby” to get to the final bell and tore into him until the referee stopped the fight with just 8 seconds left.
2:43 p.m. ET: Jarrell Miller has become a walking punching bag as Dubois is bouncing punches off of his head and torso. He’s still moving forward but it’s been slowed down by Dubois setting his feet and letting the punches rip. At the end of the eighth round, Dubois slammed a combination into Miller that sent him stumbling to his corner. The end could be near.
2:34 p.m. ET: Dubois has managed to stay afloat and win just about every round but it just feels like Miller is getting closer to drowning him with pressure. Dubois fought an excellent fifth round that used a strong jab and combination punches to rack up points. But Miller continues to press forward. In the sixth round, Miller started showing signs of exhaustion, which isn’t good when you are supposed to be the one breaking down Dubois.
2:18 p.m. ET: “Big Baby” has deployed a strategy where he’ll simply walk forward and use his massive presence to wear Dubois down. And after two rounds it appears to be working as Dubois is already growing tired having to punch, move and shove a man with a 100 pound weight advantage.
2:02 p.m. ET: After a lengthy delay, we are finally getting to Dubois-Miller. Expect more delays if this fight doesn’t go the distance.
1:37 p.m. ET: Perhaps the fight that has built up the most interest over the past few days is up next as Daniel Dubois (19-2, 18 KOs) meets Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (26-0-1, 22 KOs) in a grudge match. Miller will have a one-hundred-pound weight advantage and has berated Dubois all week (and everyone on the card, really). He’ll have to back up his trash talk against Dubois, who is coming off of a loss to Oleksandr Usyk in his last fight while Miller beat Lucas Browne by 6th round stoppage in March.
Agit Kabayel puts Arslanbek Makhmudov down three times for 4th round TKO
1:15 p.m. ET: The monster has been tamed. Makhmudov was exposed by Kabayel’s footwork and body shots to pull off the upset by getting the fourth-round stoppage. Makhmudov’s awful footwork and terrible defense were taken advantage of by Kabayel with lateral movement and body punches. The body shots paid off in the fourth round as he completely sapped the giant of his energy in the fourth round. Three knockdowns later and Kabayel pulls off the big upset.
12:51 p.m. ET: Arslanbek Makhmudov (18-0, 17 KOs) faces fellow undefeated heavyweight Agit Kabayel (23-0, 15 KOs) next. Makhmudov has been pegged as one of the scariest heavyweights around and will have a chance to prove it tonight.
Jai Opetaia destroys Ellis Zorro with one punch in the first round
12:37 p.m. ET: Frustrations were taken out as Jai Opetaia obliterated Ellis Zorro with a single left hook in the opening round. Zorro had never tasted defeat before and he may still be asking where he is after Opetaia’s left hook sent him crashing to the canvas in frightening fashion. He’s the best cruiserweight in the world but how good can Opetaia eventually be?
12:25 p.m. ET: Coming up next is the best cruiserweight in the world, Jai Opetaia (23-0, 18 KOs). He’ll face Ellis Zorro (17-0, 7 KOs). What’s unfortunate is that Opetaia should still be recognized as the IBF cruiserweight champion but was unceremoniously stripped for accepting a fight in Saudi Arabia, which is both disgraceful and ridiculous. Opetaia is certainly brooding over this decision and is expected to take his frustrations out on Zorro.
Filip Hrgovic steamrolls overmatch Mark De Mori in one round
12:08 p.m. ET: It was the biggest mismatch on the card and Hrgovic wasted little time making it a short night. The Olympic bronze medalist landed a hard right hand that produced a delayed reaction and sent De Mori to a knee. It was clear that De Mori was in over his head as Hrgovic hunted his wounded prey and landed several more bombs to finish the job within three minutes.
11:58 p.m. ET: Up next Filip Hrgovic (16-0, 13 KOs) taking on Mark De Mori (41-1-2, 36 KOs) in heavyweight action. Don’t know who De Mori is? Most don’t. The 41-year-old’s biggest fight was a 1st round TKO loss to David Haye back in 2016. Hrgovic is back in action after an ugly 12th-round TKO win over Demsey McKean in August that followed a win over Zheli Zhang in a fight most thought he lost.
Frank Sanchez finishes Junior Fa with 7th round TKO
11:53 a.m. ET: Sanchez finally caught Fa slipping by putting a right hand behind a jab that put Fa down at the end of the sixth. With the range being found, Sanchez dropped Fa again with a wicked combination a minute into the seventh round. A switch was flipped as Sanchez went into full seek-and-destroy mode before clobbering Fa with another right hand to end the fight with less than a minute to go in the round. That’s the Frank Sanchez we need to see more of.
11:43 a.m. ET: Well, like most Frank Sanchez fights this has been relatively uneventful through five rounds. Sanchez is ahead but he hasn’t stepped on the gas and tested a fighter who hasn’t been in the ring in over a year. Sanchez is certainly talented but his penchant for having underwhelming outings is going to prevent him from stepping into stardom.
11:15 a.m. ET: Kicking things off is a pair of heavyweights as the undefeated Frank Sanchez (23-0, 16 KOs) will face Junior Fa (20-2, 11 KOs). Fa is 1-2 in his last three fights and ended a two-fight losing streak to Lucas Browne and Joseph Parker by beating unheralded Tussi Asafo in October 2022. Sanchez fought in September and stopped Scott Alexander in four rounds.
11 a.m. ET: We are live! One of the most stacked boxing cards in the history of the sport is getting ready to begin. But just because it is stacked doesn’t necessarily guarantee that it will produce fireworks…or does it? Buckle up because it’s time to find out over the next few hours with a ridiculous lineup of fights.
10 a.m. ET: Hello everyone, and welcome to The Sporting News’ live coverage of Joshua vs. Wallin, Wilder vs. Parker, and the entire Day of Reckoning card.
Day of Reckoning full card results
- Anthony Joshua def. Otto Wallin via 5th round TKO (3:00)
- Joseph Parker def. Deontay Wilder via unanimous decision (118-111, 118-110 & 120-108)
- Dmitry Bivol def. Lyndon Arthur (120-107, 120-107 & 120-107) to retain the WBA light heavyweight title
- Daniel Dubois def. Jarrell Miller via 10th round TKO (2:52)
- Agit Kabayel def. Arslanbek Makhmudov via 4th round TKO (2:03)
- Jai Opetaia def. Ellis Zorro via 1st round TKO (2:56) to retain The Ring cruiserweight titles
- Filip Hrgovic def. Mark De Mori via 1st round TKO (1:46)
- Frank Sanchez def. Junior Fa via 7th round TKO (2:42)