Boxing

Anthony Joshua.

Anthony Joshua to face Joseph Parker in world heavyweight title unification bout

Published Add your comment

Football News
24/7

Anthony Joshua will continue his quest to be crowned the undisputed world heavyweight champion when he faces New Zealander Joseph Parker in Cardiff on March 31.

Joshua, who holds the WBA and IBF versions of the title, will add Parker’s WBO belt if he triumphs at the Principality Stadium, leaving only American WBC champion Deontay Wilder on his title hit-list.

The announcement brings an end to months of fractious negotiations with Parker, who defended his WBO title over Hughie Fury in Manchester in September, and was holding out for a bigger percentage of the purse.

It will be Joshua’s first fight since a gruelling late stoppage win over late replacement Carlos Takam at the same venue in October, and a win will move him closer to his goal of being the first heavyweight to hold all four major belts simultaneously.

Joshua said: “I would like to announce the official news that myself and Joseph Parker will be fighting on March 31 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

“It is a unification heavyweight championship fight. We all know what happened last time I was in a unification heavyweight championship fight – it was gruelling, it was interesting and we both left the ring with masses of respect.

“These fights aren’t easy because there is a lot on the line, so respect to team Parker for taking the challenge. I am looking forward to it, training camp is under way and before you know it March 31 will be upon us.”

Despite showing respect to Parker in his pre-fight comments, Joshua has already admitted he won't be shaking hands with his opponent after the fight.

And, here's why.

Anthony Joshua v Carlos Takam -  World Heavyweight Title Fight

When asked about Parker's comments about AJ in the media over the past few months, Joshua said: "I haven't seen them all, but I've heard some of them.

"In sports you've got the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, [Lionel] Messi, LeBron James, and then you've got people like Joseph Parker, so he's not a respectable type of person, he can't control himself.

"But that's just how it is. You've got to accept people for who they are. If that's how he wants to plan his shot, we let him crack on.

"He'll be respectful after I whoop him. He might try to shake my hand. I won't shake his hand though."

BBC Sports Personality Of The Year - Red Carpet Arrivals

Parker, who has won 18 of his 24 professional bouts inside the distance, is the natural next step for Joshua despite his under-whelming performance against the back-pedalling Fury, when he escaped with a majority decision.

The 26-year-old claimed the WBO crown by beating Andy Ruiz Jr. in Auckland in December 26 and made a low-key defence against Razvan Cojanu before venturing out of the southern hemisphere for only the second time to face Fury.

It was this relatively low-key career – in stark contrast to Joshua’s stadium-filling antics against the likes of Wladimir Klitschko, which prompted the disparity in expectations between the two negotiating parties.

The problem for Joshua’s camp was the lack of obvious alternatives in a relatively low-key division, with a deal with Wilder still some distance away and former champion Tyson Fury still yet to return.

Joseph Parker Press Conference

Parker clearly believes Joshua may be under-estimating him, insisting: “Anthony Joshua is in for a huge shock. A couple of months ago I heard him say ‘why should I be worried about this little kid from New Zealand’?

“Well, now he’s about to find out. And the world is about to find out whether AJ can really take a punch. My entire existence is now devoted to proving what the boxing world already knows.”

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms

Topics:
Boxing
Anthony Joshua

Article Comments

Read more

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author

DISCLAIMER

This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again