Anthony Joshua column: 'People want the Deontay Wilder fight, I promise it will come'

The former world champion is focused on the task at hand in Jeddah but knows bigger tests lie ahead
Anthony Joshua1 minute ago

At the start of this year, I made a pledge to take on three fights and, in two days' time, I'll be true to my word.

What lies in store in 2024, it's hard to say. Once I've had my Christmas turkey and mince pies, I'll start making that decision.

I know what people want, I know what I want, that's no secret — Deontay Wilder. We're sharing the same card finally, although we're not in the ring at the same time. That will come, I promise you — it just takes time.

I've not shied away from the fact I want the Wilder fight. He's keen, too. When two fighters want to get into the ring, it usually happens. We'll now just leave that to our promotional teams to make it happen.

I totally get it's the fight that people want, but you can't rush a fight of that magnitude and it'll be huge when it happens, even though there won't be a world title belt on the line. It's pure entertainment and boxing fans around the world will love it.

Joshua working out ahead of this weekend's 'Day Of Reckoning'
Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

That can all slot into place very quickly — take this fight, which all came together in just six weeks — and things will move fast for me and Wilder when the time's right.

Sometimes I know it sounds like I'm stuck on repeat, but the target for me hasn't really changed in a long time now. It's to become a three-time world champion and I remain on course for that, and fully focused on the end goal in my mind.

I've also said I would beat Tyson Fury and that view has only been cemented by seeing his display against Francis Ngannou. That was a gimmick fight and Fury nearly got totally caught out. Imagine what I, as a pure boxer, can do to him when the time comes.

I know I've got the doubters, but I also know with each fight I'm still getting better. I'm still only 34 and know it's only a matter of time before I climb back up to the top of that mountain, whoever I have to beat to make it happen.

No disrespect to Wallin, but he cannot go toe to toe with me. It will be a win for me, then we can look at Wilder

Anthony Joshua

I want to be the dominant fighter — of this division and against every opponent I face in the ring — and, for all the talk from everyone else, the focus for me has to be on what's staring me in the face — Otto Wallin.

He's a southpaw, he can be tricky, I know what makes him tick, having been in the ring with him and watched all his fights. Also, I'm getting an idea of how his mind works, with all the talk this week. But no disrespect to him — I respect anyone willing to step into the ring and go toe to toe with me — but I don't see him beating me come Saturday here in Riyadh.

Sure, he's a good fighter and I won't underestimate him for a second. You just cannot do that in heavyweight boxing. I need to be on my game — and I will be.

I said in my previous fight diary that I've got a different coach for this fight, in Ben Davison, who prepped Fury to face Wallin. Ben knows better than most what's required and I liken it to him being like my satnav, guiding me to my destination without crashing along the way!

Joshua has set his sights on becoming a world champion in 2024
Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

It's been refreshing getting a different outlook, to feed off new ideas. I think all sportsmen and women need to keep on looking outside of the box to make sure they improve and don't stand still. Ben's the right 'satnav' for this fight.

I think the last time most people will have seen me in the ring was with Louis Theroux in the BBC documentary. I watched it, I liked it, it was interesting to reflect on me at that particular time in my life.

But I feel like I'm constantly evolving, both inside the ring and also as a human being. If Louis was to come back with the cameras again, then I think he would find another side to me again.

As for this fight, I feel ready. My Essex training camp has been great and I'm ready to go to war with Wallin. As ever, people have asked me for my fight prediction. I don't have one beyond the result — a win.

It's up to me to make the most of being on this amazing card. The people of Saudi Arabia have really welcomed me in and I'm ready to repay that faith as explosively as I can. Be sure to watch.

Anthony Joshua vs Otto Wallin is live on DAZN