unified WBA and IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua tackles WBO titleholder Joseph Parker in another step toward unifying all of the major belts. Both are undefeated which cranks the intensity level up a notch. Here we will examine how they contrast leading to this critical unification duel.Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) enters the ring already a massive star. He seized gold for Great Britain at Super Heavyweight in the 2012 Summer Olympics. That was just a beginning to his meteoric rise. After vanquishing legend Wladimir Klitschko last April, this hulking champ now is widely regarded as the apex predator of boxing’s jungle. A Hertfordshire native, Anthony Joshua routinely draws giant crowds of 80,000+ to major events across the U.K. And as his record shows, he delivers every single time.
Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) comes in with far less fanfare, but definitely cannot not be underestimated. The 26 year old from Auckland, New Zealand brings an invaluable mix of youth and practical knowledge—in addition to little ring wear, a key intangible quality. Parker holds an edge in speed as well as overall professional experience. Conversely, AJ has demonstrated that he won’t get blinded by the bright lights.
Along with carrying greater power, AJ will have a pronounced size advantage. The 28-year-old Englishman also claims a significant 6” longer in reach. A key aspect in helping to control the distance. This could be a factor. Especially if Joshua’s bludgeoning punches are landing and showing their cumulative effect.
There is a false notion circulating that Joshua’s chin is weak. Based on the fact he was decked by ‘Dr. Steelhammer’ Klitschko with a devastating right hand. Instead of chastising him for that, let’s recognize his resilience and recuperative abilities. After all, AJ did get up and finish the job.
As for Parker, it must be noted that he’s been keeping a frantic pace. From the beginning of 2014 through 2016, he recorded fifteen bouts, essentially staying in training camp year round. This might offer some explanation as to why he can sometimes appear fatigued and lackluster in action. Having only appeared twice in 2017, he should be sufficiently rested and rejuvenated. Plus by arriving in the U.K. two weeks ahead of this clash, he will get rightly acclimated.
Even though Parker has gone more rounds and experienced success at a championship level, nothing resembling the scope of this event. Also worth mentioning as a pro the Kiwi has not previously faced a puncher anywhere close to AJ’s quality. How does he react under heavy fire?
If Joshua gets past Parker, a possible mega fight awaits. WBC titlist Deontay Wilder hopes to secure a showdown with Joshua next. Possibly marking the most lucrative prize fight in Heavyweight boxing history. Yet Joshua can’t afford to discount Parker. Live on Showtime (5pm EST) and Sky Sports Box Office in the U.K. One punch can change everything.