Anthony Joshua will take on Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on March 31 and thousands of boxing fans will turn up expecting to witness the 21st victory of his professional career.
The 28-year-old is the firm favourite to win the fight with the bookmakers - you’d do well to find better odds than 1/8 on - while Parker is currently priced at around 6/1 to cause what would be a considerable shock.
While Joshua is confident is sealing another win, he’s acutely aware that he’s in store for one of the biggest challenges of his career.
"I can't tell you exactly how the fight will go, but we're big, we're strong, and the punches do hurt after a while," Joshua told Sky Sports News. "I definitely know there'll be blood. There will definitely be blood, and the thing is - you can definitely hear the leather, cracking on people's heads, if you're close enough as well, and we're both fast.
"You'll see really good combinations that you don't really see from heavyweights."
However, if you were to read certain reports, you’d be forgiven for thinking this month’s fight will be a walk in the park for Joshua.
Talk and speculation is already turning to Joshua’s potential next opponent - potentially Deontay Wilder - while the UFC want to sign British boxing’s golden boy in a contract worth £353 million, according to the Telegraph today.
Johnny Nelson makes a great point about Joseph Parker
But should we be paying Joshua’s real next opponent - Joseph Parker - some more respect?
Johnny Nelson certainly believes so.
Asked if people are overlooking Parker, the boxing pundit responded by saying: “Yes. Joseph Parker is unbeaten. He’s probably at the same stage in his career as Anthony Joshua is. He’s younger than Anthony Joshua, he’s busy, he can punch, he’s never been down, he can take a shot.
“Because the general public don’t know much about him, they’re not giving him the credit he deserves. They’re just expecting Anthony Joshua to get a knockout."
Nelson: Parker is a tough, tough guy
“Joshua’s not being silly, he’s got good sparring partners in for this. He’s got his old foe Carlos Takam in, he wants someone that’s tough and who will push him because he knows Parker is that kind of fighter.
“I think if this fight gets stopped it won’t be Parker getting stopped, it’ll either be the referee or his corner throwing the towel in.
“Parker is a tough, tough guy. He’s very fast, his natural shot is a big right hand over the top, in the direction of Anthony Joshua’s head, so you’ve got to think to yourself: don’t write this guy off. Just don’t do that because if you do that, that’s where we start making mistakes and getting giddy about the AJ-Wilder fight and forget about this little pothole called Joseph Parker.”
Nelson is bang on
Nelson makes some very valid points there.
It’s important to remember that Joshua didn’t have everything in own way in his previous fight, against Takam back in October, and Parker is widely regarded as a tougher opponent than the Frenchman.
Parker has won all 24 of his professional fights - 18 by way of knockout - and there’s a chance that many of us have underestimated the New Zealander.
Write him off at your peril.
Does Joseph Parker stand a chance against Anthony Joshua? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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