By Keith Idec
Members of Joseph Parker’s team have continually questioned Anthony Joshua’s chin since their heavyweight title fight was finalized a few months ago.
David Higgins – director for Duco Events, Parker’s co-promoter – has been particularly vocal regarding Joshua’s inability to take Parker’s power. Higgins, trainer Kevin Barry and Parker himself believe Parker has a better chin than Joshua and consider it an advantage entering their 12-round heavyweight championship unification match March 31 in Cardiff, Wales.
Truth be told, though, Parker’s team respects Joshua’s ability to take a punch.
“I think he has a pretty good chin,” Barry said during a conference call Wednesday. “I know that we used the glass jaw as part of our marketing strategy in putting this fight together. But, you know, we believe, as a team, that Joshua has a good chin. He’s fought some big guys, he’s been hit on the chin before.
“Sure, he got dropped against Klitschko and there are stories about him being dropped multiple times in the amateurs, that he was dropped in the gym, in sparring. But all in all, he’s a big, strong, powerful guy, and I think his chin’s not too bad.”
The 28-year-old Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) showed real resolve by getting off the canvas in the sixth round and coming back to stop Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) in the 11th round of their thrilling title fight April 29 at Wembley Stadium in London.
New Zealand’s Parker, the unbeaten WBO champion, agreed with his trainer’s assessment of the IBF/IBO/WBA champion’s chin.
“I think he has a good chin,” Parker said. “He’s been hit flush a few times and he has taken it well. And, you know, it’s gonna be tested come March 31.”
The 26-year-old Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) also is confident that he’ll be able to take Joshua’s most punishing punches.
“My chin has been tested a few times and it’s done very well,” Parker said. “So yes, we back our chin 100 percent.”
Joshua, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist from Watford, England, is about an 8-1 favorite over Parker a week-and-a-half in advance of their fight at Principality Stadium (Sky Sports Box Office; Showtime).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.