By Keith Idec
Eddie Hearn patiently smiled and listened as opposing promoter David Higgins bragged about Joseph Parker’s chin.
When Higgins finished speaking for a Sky Sports segment that was shown Sunday, Hearn had the quintessential question for him.
“David talks about Parker’s granite chin,” said Hearn, Joshua’s promoter. “But let’s be honest, who’s he been hit by? He’s never been hit by the speed or the power of Anthony Joshua.”
Hearn reminded Higgins that by boxing Joshua on March 31 in Cardiff, Wales, the undefeated New Zealander is taking a significant step up in competition from even the three opponents he has beaten in WBO heavyweight title fights over the past 13 months.
That didn’t prohibit Higgins from questioning Joshua’s mental toughness because of how he thinks Joshua has responded to him and Parker criticizing his chin. Hearn assured Higgins that Joshua’s psyche is in no way damaged.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Hearn continued. “I’ve never seen Anthony Joshua rattled. You wanna talk about mental strength – to go out in your hometown and win Olympic gold [in 2012], to walk out in front of 90,000 at Wembley and take on Wladimir Klitschko and unify the division [on April 29], to get off the deck, to have your tank emptied and just to come through with immense heart and skill and will, don’t worry about Anthony Joshua’s toughness.”
Following nearly two months of negotiations between Hearn and Higgins, the heavyweight title unification bout between England’s Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs), the IBF/IBO/WBA champ, and Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) was officially announced Sunday. A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday at Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
Higgins claimed during his promotional face-off with Hearn that the 6-feet-6, 250-pound Joshua has been dropped “at least half a dozen times.” The 6-feet-4, 245-pound Parker has never been down as an amateur or as a professional.
“It’s been great to work with David,” Hearn said. “He’s very entertaining. And I’m looking forward to the buildup. We have a press conference on Tuesday. They’ve done a good job to just get under the skin of Anthony Joshua, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for Joseph Parker.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.