Wilder’s loss has likely ended hopes of making the Joshua fight. Eddie Hearn confirmed a two-fight deal was in place, the first of which was for March 9, 2024. But Parker dominated to win an easy unanimous decision. The Bronze Bomber only won a single round on all three judges’ scorecards, as Parker pulled off the upset win.
Joshua is now likely to fight Filip Hrgovic. The Croatian is the current IBF interim champion, who will likely fight for the vacant title after Tyson Fury takes on Oleksandr Usyk for undisputed. They have a rematch clause in place, which means the winner’s IBF belt will be stripped if they fail to face their mandatory, leaving Hrgovic facing Joshua for the title. Wilder felt the news of his defeat was what Joshua wanted.
“They really don’t want that fight. When I lost, did you see how happy he was coming out? I broke out laughing, I said, ‘That guy is happy,’ I made him able to perform like that. He was like, ‘I ain’t got to fight Wilder.’ The rumor was he was talking about retiring if I won. March 9th, the fight still can go on. But this is a perfect way for them to get out. I’m so heartbroken about my performance because I know it was lackluster. We had a hell of a training camp. I felt so amazing. I don’t know what happened,” Wilder
Wilder’s trainer, Malik Scott, has not dismissed the Joshua fight. But the manner of Wilder’s defeat was concerning. His right hand and jab were largely absent. After the defeat, Wilder’s post-fight comments hinted he could retire. Since then, Wilder has vowed to bounce back. But Scott’s tactics also come under scrutiny. His lack of urgency in the corner when Wilder needed a knockout to win was alarming. However, Scott was still hopeful of facing Joshua.
“Him and AJ were supposed to fight in March. It still may happen. That’s how boxing is. We’ll see. Deontay has got to go rest. It was a bad night at the office. First of all, Joseph Parker and [trainer] Andy Lee had a hell of a game plan. Joseph Parker’s chin wasn’t open. A couple of times, he was heavy-footed, and I thought Deontay could continue to be patient and jab him and make him run into something, but his chin was never over his front knee,” Scott
You should’ve made the fight first then instead of fighting Parker… it’s not his fault that you lost your fight. 🤷♀️
— ✨Gizmo✨ (@gizmo_277) December 25, 2023
He didn't say anything about disrespectful about Wilder, which he could have done. He even showed Wilder a support and said he hoped he would come back.
But here is Wilder trying to sell a fight that's out of his reach.
— Olasupo Jakes – Bsc (Hons), RPN (@JakesOlasupo) December 25, 2023
The key here Deontay, was to win your fight. You lost every single round and need to go into retirement now sir.
— CryptoJoe (@_CryptoJoe90) December 26, 2023