Joshua and Parker set for Saturday’s Huge Heavyweight Boxing Match
Heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker will help boxing’s premier division become a little more clear this Saturday.
Updated: March 29, 2018 • 2:36 PM ET
Anthony Joshua could be one step closer to boxing immortality this Saturday.
In front of an expected 75,000-plus crowd at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales this Saturday, either undefeated British star Anthony Joshua or New Zealand’s Joseph Parker will rise to the top of boxing royalty. One of these elite fighters will also walk away with the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles.
Coming off a TKO victory over short-notice replacement Carlos Takam in October, Joshua is 20-0 with 20 KOs and the owner of the WBA and IBF belts. The fight with Takam followed his epic battle with Hall of Famer Wladimir Klitschko in April. Up until the fight with Klitschko, few, if any, believed Joshua’s resume was significantly strong, but he passed his biggest test in one of the best fights in recent memory.
Joshua is a blockbuster draw in Britain, but has yet to fight professionally outside of the place he calls home. When combining Saturday’s expected attendance with the attendees of his previous two fights, Joshua will have fought in front of 200,000-plus fans in his last three fights alone.
A win over Parker would likely land Joshua a fight with American and WBC champion Deontay Wilder to unify the heavyweight division. Wilder believes Joshua should travel to the United States for the fight, and Joshua’s team thinks Wilder should travel to the United Kingdom. If Joshua defeats Parker and goes on to defeat Wilder on American soil, he would be one of the biggest heavyweights of all time.
Coming off of a majority decision win over Hughie Fury in September, Parker is also undefeated at 24-0 with 18 KOs. He won the then vacant WBO title in December 2016 against Andy Ruiz and has successfully defended the belt twice. Joshua, though, represents Parker’s biggest test yet, and a win in any fashion would be considered by many to be an upset.
If that happened, the burning question would be: does Parker immediately face Wilder? Regardless of who’s fighting for the belts, there’s no doubt that a unification of the heavyweight titles is what boxing needs.
Despite what others think, Parker believes he should be the favorite on Saturday.
"I'm going to beat,” Parker said on Tuesday during a pre-fight press conference. “I haven’t decided how I want to beat him yet. I don’t know if it’s a knockout, or if it’s points, decision. I’ll see how I feel on fight night.”
Joshua believes the fight will go just like his previous fights, but he’s prepared to go the distance for the first time.
“You've got two sides of it,” Joshua said. “I’m definitely prepared for a 12-round fight, 110 percent, which isn't a problem to go the distance,” said Joshua.
There’s no doubt that Parker will have to fight Joshua differently than his previous two opponents, as those fights weren’t barnburners. If Parker wants a victory this Saturday, he’ll have to take the fight to Joshua and not get off to a slow start like many do against the Brit.
Joshua is the favorite, but he shouldn’t overlook the 26-year-old. He definitely has the power advantage, but Parker has proven he can go the distance, which will make the later rounds interesting, should the fight get there.
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