By Keith Idec
Joseph Parker’s promoter continued to point out Sunday that his fighter has shown a much more reliable chin than Anthony Joshua.
David Higgins, director for Duco Events, claimed during a segment for Sky Sports that Joshua has been down at least six times, presumably including his pro and amateur careers, as well as sparring sessions. New Zealand’s Parker, who’ll encounter England’s Joshua on March 31 in Cardiff, Wales, has not been knocked down as pro or as an amateur.
“The fact is Joshua has been laid out, on the floor, at least half a dozen times,” Higgins said as he stood face-to-face with Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter. “And Joseph never has.”
Higgins believes by continually questioning the hard-hitting Joshua’s chin in recent weeks, Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) and his team have affected Joshua’s psyche 2½ months in advance of their heavyweight title unification fight at Principality Stadium. Parker’s promoter is certain his fighter is stronger mentally than Joshua and feels that advantage will help him retain his WBO title and win the IBF, IBO and WBA championships from Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs).
“This whole mental toughness thing,” Higgins said, “I’ll tell you, I’m 38 years old and I’ve never in my life met a man, a human, who’s as mentally tough as Joseph Parker. I mean that. I’m not saying that just for promotion. He’s unflappable. Joshua’s already squirming because … so we come out with this whole, ‘Joseph’s never been dropped.’ That’s a fact. We’ve offered 20 thousand British pounds to anyone that can prove Joseph’s been dropped as an amateur or in training as a pro – ever. Nothing. Joshua, he has actually been flattened half a dozen times – more, probably more.”
According to Higgins, Joshua’s actions and comments since they’ve made an issue of his chin indicate that he is doubting himself.
“My point is, when we said that Joshua started saying bizarre things,” Higgins said. “You know, he was showing delusions of grandeur. ‘I wanna be like Roger Federer.’ Federer’s had 15 years at the top. It’s too early, Anthony, to compare yourself to Roger Federer. Unify first. Or, you know, ‘I’m the king of Dubai.’ What the hell was that? Are Dubai [officials] paying him money to promote the place? Obviously.
“When you start talking about yourself in the third person, it’s the first sign of madness. He’s mentally weak and he’s been dropped numerous times. He’s saying bizarre things. He’s rattled. He’s squirming.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.