Earlier this week, Frank Warren spoke about a big card of boxing being set for Riyadh on December 23. Warren said we’ll “love” the card, one that will be “historic” and will feature some big names, with some British fighters to feature along with some global stars. Now, via news from Dan Rafael, comes word that former heavyweight champs Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua are both currently in talks to appear on the card, both against TBA, with the big plan being for the two to then fight each other in a massive fight some time next year.
As per Rafael’s Fight Freaks column, “multiple sources with knowledge of the plans” said how both AJ and Wilder are “working to finish deals with Turki Alalshikh of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, to fight in separate bouts on the card.”
This is exciting news and it is to be hoped this comes off. As we all know, Joshua and Wilder should have fought each other years ago, and now, maybe, if this in-the-works doubleheader comes off, the two will collide next year (assuming both men win on December 23, of course!)
It will be interesting to see just who both former champions will face if the doubleheader does come off. On the one hand, it probably won’t be anyone too risky, not with the hugely lucrative showdown between the two at stake. On the other hand, the Saudis will not want to see Wilder and Joshua fight against no-hopers.
Aside from the two heavyweights featuring on the card (possibly) comes word from another source who spoke with Rafael, that WBA light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol could also fight on the card that would take place two days before Christmas Day. Again, as of now, it’s TBA as far as who Bivol would fight.
As for we fight fans, let’s hope the December 23 card does come off. A big card during the Christmas holidays would be great and welcome stuff. Wilder would be making a much needed return to the ring, his first fight since October of 2022. While for Joshua, this would be his third fight of 2023, this his most active year in quite some time.