Anthony Joshua rolled back the years to deliver a spiteful performance and force Otto Wallin to quit on his stool.
Joshua dominated from the first bell and soon found a home for his right hand as Wallin struggled to adjust to his rival’s pace. And after rocking the Swede with a left-right combination in the fifth round, his rival’s corner pulled their man out.
Joshua was fighting for the third time this year following a points win over Jermaine Franklin and a brutal KO of Robert Helenius. He knew when he walked to the ring that his $100million two-fight deal with Deontay Wilder was dead in the water after the American was beaten by Joseph Parker.
But the Brit also knew defeat was unthinkable if he was to return to boxing’s top table and challenge again for a world title. And in Wallin he was facing a tricky southpaw who had pushed Tyson Fury all the way in 2019 before succumbing to his only career defeat.
Joshua edged a tentative opening round with a right hand perhaps the only telling punch landed. The Brit began to find a home for his right hand in the second round as he began to get the measure of Wallin.
The Swede was offering little in response and by the third round was bleeding from his nose and mouth. And Joshua’s patience was paying off as he landed his right hand almost unchallenged through the fourth round.
And just as Wallin attempted to take the fight to Joshua in the fifth round, Joshua landed a one-two which rocked his rival. And Wallin’s corner pulled their man out at the end of the session.
“It was just another fight,” said Joshua. “I respect Otto; I told everyone in the build-up I needed to focus on the man in front of me. It wasn’t a throwback, just another day at the office. I’ll do anything to get the win. All I want to do is be victorious for as long as I can.”