The first step to unifying boxing’s heavyweight titles takes place on March 31st, 2018 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Unified IBF, WBA and IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua faces WBO title holder Joseph Parker in one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year.
Heavyweight Title Unification
Joshua is the universally recognized heavyweight champion of the world after beating the legendary Wladimir Klitschko in an epic war last year.
Since winning the IBF heavyweight belt against American Charles Martin in 2016, Joshua has fought four times. Two of those were IBF title defenses against Dominic Breazeale and Carlos Molina. The third one was his unification bout with Klitschko where he annexed the WBA and IBO belts.
Most recently, Joshua knocked out a stubborn Carlos Takam in in 10 rounds last October to keep his belts and his perfect record of 20-0 with 20 knockouts.
At about the same time Joshua won the IBF belt, Joseph Parker captured the WBO heavyweight title with a majority decision win over American Andy Ruiz.
Since then, Parker has made two successful defenses of his belt. Parker beat Razvan Cojanu in an unimpressive unanimous decision victory in May 2017. The Kiwi then beat Hughie Fury via majority decision last September to set-up a date with Joshua.
More than the belts, a rich unification bout with WBC champion Deontay Wilder awaits the winner of this bout. Wilder is coming off a sensational knockout win over Cuban slugger Luis Ortiz last month. The Bronze Bomber is expected to fly to Wales not just to witness this contest but to challenge the winner after the bout.
Best Heavyweight In The Planet
Joshua is the heavy favorite here (-900 at Sportsbetting.ag), while Parker came back as the underdog at +600.
The British is massive at 6-6 with a reach of 82 inches. He is considered as the best heavyweight in the planet today. Joshua isn’t just a powerful puncher, he is also a complete fighter. AJ has the speed, quickness, footwork, hand speed and IQ that not every heavyweight possesses.
Other than the knockdown he suffered against Klitschko, Joshua has shown very little weaknesses so far. Parker meanwhile is a solid boxer himself. He has scored a knockout in 9 of his last 13 fights so there isn’t any question about his punching power. But Parker isn’t too hard to counter and that is considered as his main weakness. Given AJ’s skills, it may not be hard to find the target against Joseph Parker.
But while he’s easier to hit, Parker has proven that he has a granite chin. He’s been into brawls with Andy Ruiz and Carlos Takam and in both instances, his chin held up. There is a difference though in both skill and power between Anthony Joshua and those two fighters so it will be interesting to see how good Parker really is.
Because he hasn’t faced well known opponents, it’s hard to gauge how good or not Joseph Parker really is. But even if we consider all things equal, Parker still gives up a lot to Joshua in terms of size. Being bigger than his foes has always been Joshua’s main edge over his opponents. This one should be no different.
Joshua is going to break Parker down and wear him out in the middle rounds. Even if Parker’s chin holds, it’s going to be an easy night for AJ. But chances are, Joshua is going to keep his perfect record.
Book another knockout win for Anthony Joshua. We’re picking Joshua to win by knockout. Bring in Deontay Wilder next.