Joseph Parker stunned former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday night to put in doubt a long-awaited big-money fight against Anthony Joshua in 2024.
Boxing pundits had predicted that Wilder, a 38-year-old American boxer would steal the show in Riyadh, but the 31-year-old underrated New Zealand boxer, also a former world champion pulled a big surprise and won the bout in a unanimous decision after the three judges scored him judges 118-111, 118-110 and 120-108.
Victory for Parker lifted the former WBO champion back into the world ranking, becoming the second boxer after Tyson Fury to beat Wilder.
In his post-fight interview, Wilder admitted falling short of what was expected of him and quickly accepted the defeat.
“My timing was off a little bit, big up to Joseph as he did a great job avoiding all of my punches. We make no excuses tonight,” Wilder said.
When asked if the talk of a Joshua fight was a distraction, Wilder said: “A little bit, a lot of talk about a lot of different things. I’m a happy fighter. I’m a warrior, I’ll be back soon. And if not, it’s been an enjoyment and a pleasure.”
But the American boxer vowed to return to the ring soon.
“I’m a warrior, I’ll be back soon. If not, then I appreciate the love and support everyone has given me over the years. Life is about falling and getting back up, you must get back up.
“We’re not going to base it off inactivity, we move onto the next and live to see another day. I tried to stay calm, throw jabs and set up my right hand. I felt like I had the upper hand but these things happen.”
The bout was meant to clear the path for the Joshua vs Wilder bout in 2024, a fight that has been on the line for six years.