By Chris McKenna, courtesy of The Daily Star
ANTHONY JOSHUA has been labelled ‘soft’ ahead of his heavyweight clash with Joseph Parker.
Unbeaten Kiwi Parker puts his WBO title on the line against WBA, IBO and IBF champion Joshua at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
But Parker’s promoter David Higgins believes his man has had to reach the top the hard way while 2012 Olympic gold medallist Joshua has had everything handed to him on a plate.
Higgins said: “You look at the fact that New Zealand does not have a boxing heritage and there’s no government funding of boxing, so we have done it on the smell of an oily rag.
“Joseph didn’t win any medals, he started with nothing and no name.
“And we have scrapped, hustled and fought our way to the top of the world and that gives us real confidence and an in-built strength.
“Joshua, on the other hand, credit to him for turning his life around but British boxing gives their fighters a lot of support, a lot of sponsorship.
“Then he won Olympic gold and it’s all easy. Therefore I think he may be softer.
“When strengths and weaknesses are criticised, which is normal in competitive sport, Joshua didn’t seem used to it and showed signs of being rattled.
“Joseph’s journey is the opposite to everything Joshua has had laid on for him and I think that’s a strength for him, not a weakness. We’re here to win.”
Also scheduled for this card, David Price collides with Alexander Povetkin, former world champion Anthony Crolla will faces Edson Ramirez, Ryan Burnett defends his WBA World Bantamweight crown against Yonfrez Parejo, Josh Kelly also goes for his first belt against former IBF World champion Carlos Molina for the WBA International Welterweight title and Welshman Joe Cordina fights for his first pro title with the WBA International Lightweight belt on the line against Andy Townend.