Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker will put their titles and reputations on the line when they meet in a world heavyweight title clash in Cardiff on March 31. Their eagerly awaited unification bout takes place at the Principality Stadium, with the big-punching rivals also defending unbeaten records. Joshua is 20-0 and Parker 24-0.
The 28-year-old Joshua (WBA, IBO and IBF) is a huge fan favorite in Britain prompting 90,000 fans to flock to Wembley stadium to see his epic victory against Wladimir Klitschko in April. He survived the first knockdown of his career to stop the Ukrainian veteran in the 11th round. It was the biggest heavyweight fight in British history.
If Joshua beats the 26-year-old New Zealander (WBO), he will likely next take on unbeaten American Deontay Wilder (WBC) in a huge fight the boxing world desperately wants to see.
The last heavyweight champion of the world was Lennox Lewis in 1999, and Joshua plans to emulate him. But Parker pledged to end Joshua’s unbeaten record by putting him flat on the canvas.
He clearly showed he could, against Klitschko, but he also struggled to hold off the much older Klitschko at times in that fight. Parker is a far younger and fresher opponent, and can also hit hard.
Former super middleweight world champion Carl Froch expects Parker to provide a very dangerous test for Joshua.
"Joshua will always be the favourite and I am not going to argue with that, but looking back on the way they both dealt with Carlos Takam, it tells me this is a real, proper test for Josh. Perhaps his toughest so far," Froch told Sky Sports.
"Parker dealt with him convincingly but didn't stop him, but Takam had a full camp, not a couple of weeks. You could argue that Parker's performance against him was on a par with Joshua. He uses that jab, he uses the angles and he worked in bursts and I think we will see that again. Look at his record and you know he is going to be fit. His last four fights have gone the full 12 rounds, so he has that experience and he will have no trouble if goes into the second half.
"Parker will come to win and Joshua will need to be at his very best. He can't afford to switch off and that is one thing I can't see happening. I have a feeling that someone like Parker is going to bring even more out of Josh."