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Anthony Joshua nets £75m Otto Wallin showdown in Saudi Arabia as his promoter Eddie Hearn takes a back seat to rival Frank Warren

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  • Anthony Joshua to face Otto Wallin on star-studded bill in Riyadh
  • Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has agreed a deal with rival Frank Warren
  • Latest as huge list of big fighters head for Saudi on December 23: The Hook 

Anthony Joshua‘s insistence on clambering back aboard the oil train to Saudi Arabia has brought Eddie Hearn to Frank Warren‘s table for the first time in their long and often bitter rivalry.

As Warren’s Queensberry company unveiled at a media conference in Wembley Arena a bumper card in Riyadh on December 23, Hearn took his place as one of the supporting promoters.

Warren is resisting any temptation to gloat. Instead, he says: ‘I’m just delighted that I’ve been able to bring together many of the world’s leading promoters.

‘And everybody involved should be very grateful to His Exellency Turku Alalshikh (Saudi Minister of Entertainment) for making this possible. ‘

Given the massive funding, there could be no reasonable denying Matchroom Man Joshua his share of a total Christmas box purse for this event understood to be in the region of £75 million.

Heavyweight Anthony Joshua features on star-studded bill in Saudi Arabia on December 23

Joshua to face Otto Wallin (above), with the incentive of taking on Deontay Wilder if he wins

Joshua to face Otto Wallin (above), with the incentive of taking on Deontay Wilder if he wins

Hopefully Joshua’s comeback from a darkened room of soul searching meditation – and a place not too distant from career oblivion – is happening just in time.

The incentive to do this cannot be as rewarding as the $50 million Tyson Fury is believed to have banked from his somewhat fraught crossover battle with UFC icon Francis Ngannou in Riyadh last month.

Nor will it come close to the Gypsy King’s next fortune awaiting him in the long delayed fight with Oleksandr Usyk which, on February 17, will anoint the first undisputed world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.

That, too, will take place in Riyadh, where a further inducement dangles for Joshua as long he beats Otto Wallin.

Deontay Wilder, the biggest puncher in boxing today and now recovered from his brutal trilogy with Fury, takes on another former world champion Joseph Parker on the Joshua-Wallin Christmas card.

‘The end game for these,’ says Warren, ‘is AJ v Wilder in the New Year on condition they both win. Also in Riyadh.

‘I said when we did Tyson v Ngannou that it was a huge event which would be a game-changer for boxing. And here we are, with all these parties coming together. ‘

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn has agreed a deal with rival Frank Warren

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn has agreed a deal with rival Frank Warren

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn (L) has agreed a deal with rival Frank Warren (R)

Joshua and Wilder (above) lead a star-studded bill on December 23 in Saudi Arabia

Joshua and Wilder (above) lead a star-studded bill on December 23 in Saudi Arabia

DAY OF RECKONING CARD 

Anthony Joshua vs Otto Wallin

Deontay Wilder vs Joseph Parker

Daniel Dubois vs Jarrell Miller

Dmitry Bivol vs Lyndon Arthur

Jai Opetaia vs Ellis Zorro

Frank Sanchez vs Junior Fa

Filip Hrgovic vs Mark De Mori

Arslanbek Makhmudov vs Agit Kabayel

Joshua made his first appearance in Saudi Arabia on a Matchroom card in his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr.

A change in advisors paved the way for Warren to establish a long-term partnership with the Kingdom.

Hence Joshua v Wallin, whose only loss has been to Fury despite inflicting a a 46 stitch cut to the eye of the World champion.

Plus not only Wilder v Parker but also a chance for Daniel Dubois to come back into world title contention after his controversial loss to Usyk, among a number of high profile fights.