The Principality Stadium, Cardiff is the venue for Anthony Joshua‘s next step on the ‘Road to Undisputed’. On the 31st of March, 2018 he faces New Zealand’s Joseph Parker.
Watford’s Joshua holds the IBF, WBA ‘Super’ and IBO World Heavyweight titles and will be looking to add Parker’s WBO belt to the collection, in front of an estimated 70,000+ crowd in the Welsh capital.
Anthony Joshua, 28, started his professional journey in 2013. At the 02 Arena, London he despatched of undefeated Italian Emanuele Leo in one round. The Pro Debut, for the 2012 Olympic Super Heavyweight Gold Medalist, had gone smooth and he hasn’t looked back since. In the following two years, he powered his way through domestic and international competition. The likes of Jason Gavern, Raphael Zumbano Love and the, normally, durable Kevin Johnson were all despatched within a few rounds.
London rival Dillian Whyte, put up an interesting test, in 2015, but a right uppercut in the seventh slayed him. Anthony Joshua was the British & Commonwealth Heavyweight champion when he got the opportunity to face the newly-crowned IBF champion Charles Martin, in 2016.
The American champion was dropped twice, in the second, and Joshua had his first legitimate portion of the crown.
In 2017, Joshua fought twice facing Wladimir Klitschko and Carlos Takam. The Klitschko fight was thrilling and dramatic. The young lion versus the seasoned veteran ex-champion. ‘AJ’ tasted the canvas, for the first time as a professional, though rebounded to score two knockdowns and force a stoppage in the eleventh round. In defeating former champion Klitschko, Joshua added the WBA ‘super’ & IBO Heavyweight belts to his collection.
In his last fight, at the Principality Stadium, he defended all three of his belts successfully. Joshua dropped Carlos Takam in the fourth, boxed a controlled fight and stopped the bloodied Frenchman in the tenth round.
Next up is Joseph Parker, 26, from South Auckland, New Zealand. Parker is undefeated in 24 fights and has stopped 18 opponents, since turning professional in 2012. On his rise up the rankings, he’s defeated good competition in Brian Minto, Bowie Tupou, Carlos Takam and Alexander Dimitrenko.
In 2016, he faced undefeated American Andy Ruiz Jr., for the vacant WBO World Heavyweight title. The bout went the distance and was close, Parker had his hand raised after twelve competitive rounds. He’s defended the title twice, beating Razvan Cojanu and Hughie Fury both on points decisions.
Looking through various boxing rankings, this fight is pitting the No.1 ranked Anthony Joshua versus the No.3 ranked Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs). Anthony Joshua is the money man of the division and a target for all ambitious heavyweights. The Watford man has weighed 250lbs+ for his last two fights but it’s expected that he will be lighter this time. Parker is not known as a mover but may decide to box, Joshua will want to be lighter in order to find his opponent.
Joshua hunts opponents down behind his impressive orthodox jab. I have a feeling that he won’t have to go too far to find a determined Parker, who has supreme confidence in his own ability to take a good shot – he’s never been down. Parker usually weighs 245lbs, though his camp has indicated he will be lighter. I can see the Kiwi wanting to be a step ahead of the danger that Joshua brings. The hand speed is with Joshua, his combination punching is fast, he’s undoubtedly the bigger puncher.
In this fight, we could well see Parker tag Joshua and it’ll be interesting to see how the Brit responds. I see a slow start but expect some furious exchanges from the fourth round on. For me, Joshua’s power is an equaliser and Parker won’t have felt that kind of power before. Neither man is the best defensively and I expect the openings that arise, to be fully capitalised and Joshua getting the stoppage around the midpoint.
Both men enter the ring undefeated and hungry for continued success in this unification contest. The winner will, likely, progress to fight WBC champion Deontay Wilder, who holds the final piece of the Heavyweight crown.
Check-out exclusive interviews with Anthony Joshua on JD Sports’Road to Undisputed‘.