Boxing Preview – Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker

This Easter weekend will see a history-making heavyweight title fight take place at the Principality Stadium in Wales.

Two unbeaten heavyweight champions put a combined four world titles on the line for the first time in over 30 years!

WBA Super, IBF and IBO heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua (20-0 20KO’s) and WBO world champ Joseph Parker (24-0 18KO’s) will go head to head in a unification fight this Easter weekend.

It was over 30 years ago in 1987 when two unbeaten world heavyweight champions last met in the ring when Mike Tyson defeated Tony Tucker on points in Las Vegas.

That fight was billed as “The Ultimate” with Tyson traditionally on the hunt and Tucker using his good footwork to keep on the move, but his style with his hands down low caused him to cop a lot of clouts from ‘Iron’ Mike.

There could be similarities in this bout, as I fully expect Joshua to go forward and Parker to use his superior footwork to stay away from too much trouble, however, like Tucker, his leaky defence will see him getting caught often.

Anthony Joshua Joseph Parker
Age: 28 Age: 26
Height: 6’6” Height: 6’4”
Fights: 20 Fights: 25
Won: 20 Won: 25
KO’s: 20 KO’s 22
Lost: 0 Lost: 0
Drawn: 0 Drawn: 0
Rounds: 65 Rounds: 123

Anthony Joshua’s last five fights:
WIN vs Carlos Takam – TKO 10
WIN vs Wladimir Klitschko – TKO 11
WIN vs Eric Molina – TKO 3
WIN vs Dominic Breazeale – TKO 7
WIN vs Charles Martin – KO 2

Joseph Parker’s last five fights:
WIN vs Hughie Fury – MD 12
WIN vs Razvan Cojanu – UD 12
WIN vs Andy Ruiz Jr – MD 12
WIN vs Alexander Dimitrenko – KO 3
WIN vs Solomon Haumano – TKO 4

Although the New Zealander has had the experience of fighting in the UK before, when he beat Hughie Fury on points in the first defence of his WBO belt last September, the moment will be huge for him and unlike any other fight he has been in. Despite that UK debut ending successfully, this bigger stage could well make him that little more edgy and anxious.

I fully appreciate that Parker is an unbeaten world champion, consummate professional, and deserves respect but the Kiwi will be performing in front of 80,000 spectators, which is a daunting number in itself, but add to the fact that those in attendance will all be vocal AJ fans roaring with every punch landed and it will become even more intimidating on the night.

AJ sees this fight as a stepping stone onto further greatness with WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder lying in wait, whereas Parker sees this as his career-defining fight.

Joshua has immense power with a 100 per cent KO ratio recorded but doesn’t possess that one-punch KO power that can ice an opponent cold. When he puts them down, they get back up again, although they are often on borrowed time. However, the strength in this fight will lie with the Londoner as Parker boasts a lesser but still respectful 75% ratio but hasn’t knocked anyone out for 18 months now.

Joshua has shown in his last few fights that he is very beatable, but I find it unlikely that that Joseph Parker is the man to do what 20 others couldn’t; one of those that failed was the longest reigning heavyweight world champion in history.

I see this fight starting off a little cagey due to that mutual respect between the two warring world champions. After a bit of feeling out and range-finding in the opening rounds, I envisage Joshua growing in confidence from round-three onwards and finding his rhythm to keep Parker on the backfoot.

From round-four, I expect AJ to fully understand Parker and what he needs to do. I can see the Kiwi getting hurt from this round onwards and as soon as the opportunity presents itself, I predict that the Londoner will go in for the kill as soon as he senses blood.

He has always known how to finish a fight, but after the Klitschko scare, I believe he has an even bigger sense of urgency to kill a fight off once an opponent is in trouble.

He doesn’t like those championship rounds, they take a lot out of a big heavyweight and he will be desperate not to edge into that territory, if he can help it. Parker will be the opposite, he will know that his best chance to win will be to take the London 2012 Olympic gold medallist into those later rounds and wear him down.

If AJ can get into his stride early and be clinical when Parker shows weakness, then I see this fight ending in the first half with all the titles going home with Joshua, leaving just one green belt left to complete the collection.

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