At last, the day is upon us. Anthony Joshua will put his IBF and WBA belts on the line against Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff tonight.
Parker, the WBO heavyweight champion, is the underdog but he isn’t carrying himself around like one.
"I'm going to expose him. He doesn't move as well as I do," Parker said on The Gloves Are Off.
"The way to beat him would be speed and movement. I don't think he can catch me."
Joshua came in at 17st 4lbs at Friday’s weigh-in, the lightest he has weighed since 2014.
And Parker showed just how much he values speed by trimming down 16st 12lbs, nine pounds lighter than his last fight against Hughie Fury in September.
Many boxing fans believe that, at 18st 2lbs, Joshua was too heavy in his victory over Carlos Takam last October. It’s a fair point considering the 28-year-old produced a sluggish performance against the Cameroonian-French boxer.
What Johnny Nelson has said about Joshua's weight
Sky Sports’ pundit Johnny Nelson believes Joshua is coming in at his “optimal weight”.
Speaking to iFL TV, Nelson said Joshua’s trim figure is evidence that he’s expecting the fight to reach the latter rounds.
“After the weigh-in, Anthony Joshua gets in 17st 4lbs, I think his optimal weight is between 17st 2lbs and 17st 4lbs,” Nelson said.
“He’s coming in light so therefore he’s looking for speed, he expects this to be a long fight."
AJ has trained for 15 rounds - not 12
Nelson added: "I know he’s trained for 15 rounds, not 12, so he’s expecting to go the distance.
“But Anthony Joshua’s the kind of fighter that once he finds the range with the jab instinctively, the range from the right hand comes straight through.
“For most fighters it takes three or four shots to get that off.”
Joshua has clearly studied Parker’s make-up for the fight and realises that he needs to be able to match the New Zealander’s stamina.
The Brit’s engine has been called into question recently, with Carl Froch raising doubts this week.
“We don’t know if Joshua has got the toughness mentally to be disciplined throughout the whole fight,” Froch told The Sun.
"And you do question whether AJ’s got the engine but his size, strength and growing confidence might be enough. I think Joshua will stop him late on — but he is not a one-punch knockout man."
Fortunately, we don’t have to wait much longer to find out whether Joshua can answer these questions.
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