Anthony Joshua's camp is targeting a weight of less than 18st for the upcoming unification fight with Joseph Parker.
The much-anticipated unification bout between Britain's Joshua and New Zealand's Parker has finally been announced and will be held on March 31st at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Should AJ come out victorious, he will be the first fighter to hold four simultaneous world heavyweight titles. However, the Kiwi champion firmly believes that he will come out victorious.
Before the fight was even announced, several jabs had been thrown from the WBO champion’s camp including barbs against Joshua’s “robotic” style and his possible glass-chin
Parker and his team also plan to exploit what they identified as a major Joshua weakness, fatigue, which was seemingly evident in Joshua's last two fights.
"I think it's very important that Joe is very fast on his feet and very mobile in this fight against Joshua," said trainer Kevin Barry.
“I think the last fight we weighed 112kg(17.6st). I want to see Joe somewhere around the 108kg(17st).”
To counter this strategy, AJ's trainer Rob McCracken aims for the British brawler to weigh in lighter than his previous three fights. Joshua's weight has come to light after his last two fights showed that fatigue could prove a factor should a fight go the distance.
In his last fight against Carlos Takam, Joshua came in at the heaviest weight of his career at 18.2st despite his promoter Eddie Hearn claiming during the buildup that Joshua would come in somewhere between 16st 8lbs and 17st 1lb.
McCracken told Sky Sports: "Ideal world, AJ would like to come in around 17st 9lbs or 17st 10lbs."
"[Joshua] is a huge man - very tall, very big, there's no body fat on him. We'll take the training camps as it comes. We'll see how he feels doing the sparring, doing the longer rounds, and we'll work out an optimum weight for him.
"But at the moment my feeling, and his feeling is 17st 9lbs or 17st 10lbs."
With Eddie Hearn’s premature - and ultimately incorrect - prediction of AJ’s weight before his last matchup, it might be wise to take any statements from the Watford man’s camp with a pinch of salt.
However, in the press conference to announce the fight held on Tuesday in London, Joshua noticeably looked leaner than his 2017 self already.
AJ confirmed as much at the press conference: "I'm already down to 17st 8lbs. I will be lighter and quicker this time and the extra speed will give me even more punching power."
Although both boxers are undefeated, Parker is the heavy underdog but Joshua's camp has been quick to emphasise that a champion is still to be respected.
McCracken stated: "Parker is a big heavyweight. AJ is very tall but Parker is big, he's solid. If you put Parker in the sport 30 years ago he would have been a giant. He's a big man, strong, and has a good boxing brain. He's somebody who needs to be respected, and Josh will do that."
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