By Chris McKenna, courtesy of The Daily Star
ANTHONY JOSHUA reckons beating Joseph Parker will be the hardest part of unifying the heavyweight division.
The easy bit will be facing WBC champion Deontay Wilder afterwards. WBA, IBO and IBF king Joshua faces the WBO’s top dog Parker in Cardiff a week on Saturday as he steps up his quest to rule the division.
Wilder told Starsport this week that he’s next in line to fight the undefeated Brit.
But when asked if Parker could be the tougher fight, Joshua said: “Yeah. I haven’t seen Wilder throw that many body shots. Wilder relies on the right hand, so I think Parker is a better all-rounder.
“Parker doesn’t throw many combination punches, but he throws more (than Wilder). To reign as a champion, there has never been one champion in the heavyweight division that relied solely on power and one punch.
“When you talk about Parker you talk about his speed, his stamina, he’s got a good chin.
“I don’t know if Wilder is just about a right hand but that’s what people say. Parker has an all-round game, that is what makes it a dangerous fight.”
Wilder walloped Luis Ortiz earlier this month to reinforce his claim to Joshua’s throne.
“When Wilder won, I just thought he’s supposed to do that,” said Joshua.
“He’s a 10-year pro. He turned pro in 2009 after the Beijing Olympics, so after nine years as a pro, you’re supposed to beat Ortiz.
“It was his 40th fight. I just looked it vice-versa and thought by my 40th fight, no-one should be giving me problems.”
Joshua is putting the final touches to his 12-week camp and opened the doors to his training base at GB Boxing HQ in Sheffield on Wednesday.
The London 2012 gold medallist looked lean as he aims to come in under 18st for this clash with Parker.
The pressure is on to deliver his 21st knockout in front of 80,000 fans at the Principality Stadium - his third stadium fight.
Asked about the expectation to deliver a knockout blow, he said: “I should do, I should do. When I fight it’s a national holiday. But I don’t feel the pressure.
“It’s pressure I put on myself. The pressure is more about performance, I know I can slug out a win.
“It’s based on performance to make your stock rise. Opinions are always good. If Parker loses, he will come again and vice versa.”
Joshua added: “I said to my PR team, have we everything planned if I lose. There is no plan.
“If he beats me, he doesn’t end it, I have worked too hard. I have been through a lot because of that seed of doubt.
“I cannot be subbed or taken off. I have had to push myself, worrying that this could go wrong.
“It’s always in the back of my mind but that is the fuel, that is what keeps me going.”
Sky Sports Box Office will exclusively show the Joshua v Parker unification fight on March 31. Available to buy now at www.sky.com/orderboxoffice.