By Keith Idec
Joseph Parker’s promoter doesn’t think there’s as much separating what his fighter and Anthony Joshua have accomplished as Eddie Hearn has stated.
Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, promised that Joshua will demonstrate that he operates on a different level than Parker when the heavyweight champions fight March 31 in Cardiff, Wales. Higgins insists that aside from defeating Wladimir Klitschko, who dropped Joshua in a back-and-forth slugfest 8½ months ago, their resumes are comparable.
“Very similar, except for an aging, old Klitschko, coming off a loss, after two years out of the ring or whatever,” Higgins said during segment for Sky Sports. “Other than that, they’ve got a similar rap sheet. But Joseph will own him mentally. Wait till the press conference.”
England’s Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs), the IBF/IBO/WBA champion, and New Zealand’s Parker (24-0, 18 KOs), the WBO champ, will meet face-to-face at a press conference Tuesday at Principality Stadium in Cardiff. Their levels of competition will be among many things about which they figure to disagree.
“These guys are gonna find out about levels, simple,” Hearn said. “We respect who they are, where they come from. They’ve never mixed on this level. They’ve never mixed in this company. And I can’t wait to see Mr. Higgins – who I like a lot and I’m looking forward to a beer with in Cardiff afterwards – when they walk through that tunnel at [Principality] Stadium and they look around, let’s see who’s mentally tough.”
The 6-feet-4, 245-pound Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) edged American Andy Ruiz (29-1, 19 KOs) by majority decision to win the then-vacant WBO title in December 2016.
His two titles defenses also went 12 rounds. Those wins came against Romania’s Razvan Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs), a former sparring partner Parker beat by unanimous decision, and England’s Hughie Fury (20-1, 10 KOs), who lost a majority decision to Parker.
The 28-year-old Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) is commonly considered boxing’s best heavyweight, largely due to his 11th-round technical knockout of Klitschko on April 29 at a sold-out Wembley Stadium in London.
Before getting up from the canvas to beat Klitschko, Joshua knocked out American Charles Martin (25-1-1, 21 KOs) to win the IBF title and defended it twice by stopping Americans Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs) in the seventh round and Eric Molina (26-5, 19 KOs) in the third round. In his lone fight since the Klitschko clash, Joshua stopped Cameroon’s Carlos Takam (35-4-1, 17 KOs) in the 10th round.
“Anthony Joshua is the only world champion with a hundred-percent perfect record,” Hearn said. “Twenty fights, 20 KOs. This goes exactly the same way. This is a great fight between two undefeated world heavyweight champions. Young, fast, hungry, dangerous – exactly the same. It’s an Anthony Joshua win.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.