By Keith Idec
Joseph Parker could tell just by looking at Anthony Joshua on Friday that he has taken training very seriously for their heavyweight title unification fight.
The 6-feet-6, 242¼-pound Joshua came in approximately 12 pounds lighter at their weigh-in Friday than he did for his last fight, a 10th-round stoppage of Carlos Takam on October 28. The 6-feet-4 Parker also was 8½ pounds less than he weighed for his previous bout, a majority-decision defeat of Hughie Fury on September 23.
“I saw confidence,” Parker told Sky Sports about Joshua following their weigh-in. “He’s a good champion. I saw confidence, so I’m expecting a really good fight.”
The 26-year-old Parker is undefeated (24-0, 18 KOs) and holds the WBO heavyweight title. England’s Joshua, the IBF/IBO/WBA champ, still is about an 8-1 favorite over the New Zealand native entering their scheduled 12-round fight Saturday night at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales (Sky Sports Box Office at 6 p.m. GMT; Showtime at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT).
“The first few rounds, you know, there’s a few ways it can go,” Parker said. “We can either test each other out or we can go in for the kill. So it just depends who’s gonna follow the game plan first and who’s gonna execute it to the best of their ability.
“I’m ready for anything. I’m here for a good fight. I’m here for war. You’re gonna have to give me everything to beat me.”
A capacity crowd of roughly 78,000 mostly Joshua fans is expected to attend Joshua’s second straight fight at Principality Stadium in Wales’ capital city. The weigh-in drew an estimated crowd of 4,000 to Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.
“I got my supporters, and I heard them and I saw them,” Parker said. “You know, he’s got a bigger crowd, but it doesn’t matter. That doesn’t faze us.”
Parker appeared relaxed as he weighed in, when he went face-to-face with Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) one last time before their fight and during his interview with Sky Sports.
“The biggest thing for me is the challenge of fighting someone like Joshua,” Parker said, “and then the challenge of fighting, if it goes into the dark place, how long will I stay there for, how fast can I come back. The result will take care of itself. As long as I’m ready and determined and confident, you know, I’m here to win.
“I’m not worried about it at all. You know, we’ve done everything we can in training to prepare. Sparring partners, sessions, we’ve gone through a lot of things, game plans. So there’s nothing to worry about, you know? Just follow it, do it well and execute it, and then come away with a victory.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.