By Ryan Burton
WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker’s (24-0) first fight on UK soil was this past September when he won a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Hughie Fury in Manchester. It may have been his first fight in the United Kingdom but it definitely wasn’t his first trip.
Increasing Parker’s profile in the lucrative British market was all by design as Team Parker worked towards a showdown against WBA/IBF/IBO champion Anthony Joshua (20-0).
"We have been working the past few months in particular on building Joe's brand in the UK. Joe has a lot of support not only from the fight fans but a lot of support from the media. We've had the Daily Mirror here, Sky UK is coming over to film with us for a few days, and the BBC and all of the major publications like Joe as a person. We are building Joe into a big star in the UK and his fan base is growing every single day," Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry recently told BoxingScene.com.
Part of the reason Parker was able to secure the fight was his teams vicious media assault on Joshua’s chin. Parker’s promoter David Higgins put a video together in November at a press conference showing clips of Joshua getting dropped and named numerous fighters who are said to have dropped Joshua in either the amateur ranks or in sparring.
Barry is very confident that his fighter has what it takes to upset Joshua but admitted that his chin isn’t as bad as they made I seem. After all there is no shame in getting dropped by Wladimir Klitschko who had 53 knockouts in his 64 victories in his Hall of Fame worthy career.
"Firstly, there were a lot of statements made in the marketing and early promotion of putting this fight together. On the record let me say that I know that Anthony Joshua has a good chin. He has been hit by some pretty decent punches. Even getting dropped by Klitschko he was able to get to his feet, survive, comeback and have a spectacular win,” said Barry.
“One thing I can tell you though - If and when Joseph Parker does connect and does put Anthony Joshua on the ground - the fight will be over. He will not let him survive. Joseph is a deadly finisher when he has somebody hurt. I am excited about the possibility of that. I can promise the boxing fans that if we get Joshua on the ground that the fight would be over."
Joshua-Parker takes place March 31st at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales and will be broadcast exclusively on Sky Sports Pay-per-view. The bout will air live in the United States on Showtime.
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