By Keith Idec
Anthony Joshua has high expectations for the type of heavyweight title fight he and Joseph Parker can produce March 31.
The unbeaten British knockout artist anticipates this type of high-profile opportunity bringing the best out of Parker, who’s an approximate 6-1 underdog. Joshua went as far as to suggest their championship unification fight could mirror the kind of action Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield delivered 25 years ago.
“Let’s say, for instance, Parker’s Holyfield and I’m Riddick Bowe, the taller, rangier fighter,” Joshua told Sky Sports as part of an interview that appeared on the network’s website Wednesday. “Those two, when they fought, they had speed, combinations on the inside, and hopefully we can fulfill what the greats have done before us.”
Bowe beat Holyfield by 12-round unanimous decision to win the IBF, WBA and WBC crowns in the first of their three heavyweight title fights, which featured an unforgettable 10th round in November 1992. The first Bowe-Holyfield battle was named The Ring magazine’s “Fight of the Year” for 1992 and is commonly considered one of the most dramatic, action-packed heavyweight championship matches in boxing history.
England’s Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) and New Zealand’s Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) obviously will have difficulty duplicating that thrilling slugfest. Joshua, 28, still predicted he and Parker, 26, will provide an entertaining, memorable battle when they fight for Joshua’s IBF, IBO and WBA titles and Parker’s WBO crown a week from Saturday night before a capacity crowd in excess of 78,000 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
“I can’t tell you exactly how the fight will go, but we’re big, we’re strong and the punches do hurt after a while,” Joshua said. “I definitely know there’ll be blood. There will definitely be blood, and the thing is – you can definitely hear the leather cracking on people’s heads if you’re close enough as well, and we’re both fast. You’ll see really good combinations that you don’t really see from heavyweights.”
The Joshua-Parker showdown will be televised by Sky Sports Box Office in the United Kingdom (£19.95). Showtime will air it live in the United States.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.