In the final minutes of March 31st, we should be a step nearer crowning one true king in boxing’s heavyweight division. Sometime in 2018 the plan and the hopes of boxing fans is that instead of several boxers claiming they are the best heavyweight on the planet, one will emerge undisputedly as the man.
The Principality Stadium in Cardiff plays host to a part unification fight between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker, and whoever leaves the ring still unbeaten, hopefully then goes on to fight the WBC champion Deontay Wilder to unify all the belts. Of course there are serious doubts that will happen for a multitude of reasons, but for now, our attention must remain on the present and the big fight in Wales.
Despite still learning his craft Joshua heads to Cardiff unbeaten in 20 fights and stopping every single man he has ever faced. Parker two years younger at 26, is also unbeaten in 24 fights, but despite that record and being the WBO champion he heads into the fight with Joshua a big underdog, you can currently get around 6-1 if you fancy the New Zealand boxer to spring the upset.
Parker isn’t what I call a banger, but he certainly is heavy-handed enough to cause Joshua serious problems if he connects clean, especially if Joshua shows signs of fatigue if his own punches haven’t got the job done by the halfway mark. Parker has never been floored and that durability could be his key to victory, but Joshua will certainly be the hardest puncher he has ever faced, so his own chin will have its sternest test against the unbeaten Brit.
There is certainly a lot of confidence in the Parker camp they seem genuinely convinced their man can beat Joshua, belief can take you a long way in sport, Parker doesn’t lack for any self-belief that’s for sure.
Joshua has shown vulnerabilities in the past, briefly with Dillian Whyte and when he was dropped by Wladimir Klitschko, before rallying in both fights to preserve his unbeaten record, so we know Joshua can overcome adversity to win. But if he gets into trouble with Parker, will he let Joshua off the hook.
Parker is the sort of fighter who does everything well but I don’t think he really excels in any department, but he has to be respected, he may well be the best fighter Joshua has faced, how much did Klitschko have left when he faced Joshua on that famous night at Wembley.
In fights like this, there is always that sense of imminent danger, one could go at any time, I am not convinced the long odds really reflect what will happen. If Joshua slows down like he did with Klitschko, the much younger and fresher Parker may well leave Wales with a few more belts around his waist. I do think the weight will be important for Joshua, he came in at 250lbs for Klitschko, 254 for Takam in his last fight, which I think is too heavy, around the 245 mark he weighed for Whyte, or even lighter would be better in my opinion.
But that said I just think Joshua has more tools to get the job done, he’s the better boxer with the bigger punch, and as long as he paces himself and doesn’t gas himself trying to stop Parker early, I think he wins. It wouldn’t surprise me too much if Joshua has to go the distance for the first time, but I think Joshua will eventually force the stoppage, but in a harder fight than most think.
Joshua TKO 10th round.