Anthony Joshua v. Joseph Parker – What’s So Special About This Fight?
This is the first time in boxing’s history that reigning world heavyweight champions have met each other in a unification bout in the UK. More than 80,000 spectators will be in the arena while many more are expected to watch it on TV.
Between them, Joshua and Parker hold four heavyweight boxing titles, all of which will be on the line on Saturday. Anthony Joshua became the IBF World Champion in April 2016, when he beat Charles Martin at London’s 02 Arena. The British boxer has successfully defended the title on four occasions. He beat Dominic Breazeale in June 2016 and Eric Molina in December of the same year.
In April 2017, the Watford-born fighter triumphed over Wladimir Klitschko, retaining his IBF title and also adding the WBO (Super) and IBO heavyweight belts to his boxing trophy collection. Six months later, he held on to all three titles when he defeated Carlos Takam.
Joseph Parker became New Zealand’s first heavyweight world champion when he beat Andy Ruiz Jr. in December 2016. The victory saw him awarded the WBO title vacated by Tyson Fury two months earlier. The 26-year-old, who was born in South Auckland, beat Răzvan Cojanu in May 2017 to retain his title. He successfully defended it again in September 2017, defeating Hughie Fury, Tyson Fury’s cousin, at Manchester Arena.
There is one other major honour that both fighters will have set their sights on winning – the WBC heavyweight title held by Deontay Wilder. Whoever triumphs on Saturday will be hoping to seize this belt soon as well.
Which Boxer Will Leave the Ring With The Championship Belts?
Neither Anthony Joshua or Joseph Parker have been defeated during their professional careers but, on paper, Joshua’s record looks the best. The British fighter has won all 20 of his bouts by knockout. Parker has had four more victories than Joshua, but six of the New Zealander’s wins were awarded to him by the judges. Parker has never faced fighters boasting the reputation or experience of the likes of Wladimir Klitschko before either, giving Joshua an extra edge. Joshua has also recently claimed that his opponent won’t be prepared for the noise of the crowd at the Principality Stadium, as the Kiwi has never taken part in a stadium fight before.
Parker, on the other hand, has claimed that Anthony Joshua has “a glass chin”. While Parker’s coach, Kevin Barry, later confessed that this was just pre-fight banter, he went on to highlight the number of times that Joshua has ended up on the canvas during previous bouts. Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Barry said: “He was knocked down in amateurs, he’s been knocked down in sparring, he was knocked down in the Klitschko fight.”
Despite this, Joshua is currently the bookies’ favourite. If he is victorious, he could take on Wilder soon. However, promoter Eddie Hearn recently told press that a Wilder vs Dillian Whyte fight could come first. Joshua could then fight the winner in an attempt to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
Do you think Joshua will beat Parker on Saturday? Do you think either boxer can claim Wilder’s title too? Tell us on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments section.