One of the most anticipated heavyweight fights in recent memory is the Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker showdown at the Principality Stadium in Wales this March 31st. This bout features a pair of undefeated champions who will be trying to eventually unify all of the world title belts with WBC boss Deontay Wilder. Joshua (20-0, 20 Kos) is the IBO, IBF and WBA (super) Champ while Parker holds the WBO Crown.
The Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko and Wilder vs Luis Ortiz fights over the past 12 months have proven that today’s crop of young heavyweights can be just as exciting and dramatic as legends such as Lennox Lewis, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano. When the bell rings in Cardiff most fans are expecting these two sluggers to end proceedings well within the 12-round distance. Let’s take a look at 12 of the most interesting facts before Joshua and Parker go toe-to-toe.
12. When, Where and How Much?
The 12-round bout will be taking place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday, March 31st. Tickets prices are £40, £60, £80, £100, £150, £200, £300 and £600 with VIP packages going for £2000. Fans in the UK will be able to shell out £19.95 to see it in the comfort of their own home on the Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view platform with it being €24.95 in the Republic of Ireland. New Zealand fans will be charged $49.99 to catch it live on Easter morning on the Sky TV Arena pay-per-view channel. If you happen to live in the USA, you’ll be able to catch all of the action live on the Showtime network. The bout is expected to begin no later than 10:30 pm in Wales, which will be 5:30 pm ET in North America and 10:30 am down in New Zealand.
11. Boxing Backgrounds
The 28-year-old Joshua hails from Watford, England. He won the IBF Title in April, 2016 and has held the WBA (super) and IBO Championships since April, 2017. He’s defended the IBF crown four times and the WBA and IBO titles once. He didn’t start boxing until he was 18, but won the super heavyweight division in the 2010 British Amateur Boxing Championships and captured silver at the World Amateur Boxing Championships in 2011. His amateur highlight was winning gold at the 2012 Olympics in London. He turned pro in 2013 and has also won the WBC International, Commonwealth and British Heavyweight titles as a pro.
Parker is just 26 years old and was born in Mangere, South Auckland, New Zealand with his full Samoan name being Lupesoliai La’auli Joseph Parker. He won the vacant WBO Title in December, 2016 and has defended it twice. He fought for his homeland at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, but didn’t qualify for the 2012 Olympics. Parker started boxing at the age of 11, turned pro in 2012 and has also won the WBO Africa, Oriental and Oceania Titles. His older brother John is also a pro boxer and will fight on the undercard.
10. What’s on the Line?
Joshua currently holds the WBA (super), IBF and IBO Heavyweight Titles while Parker is the WBO Champion. All the belts will be on the line, but the IBO Championship is generally regarded as a minor title. The WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO are considered the four major boxing organizations. The current WBC Champ is unbeaten 32-year-old American Deontay Wilder with a record of 39-0 along with 38 big Kos. The International Boxing Federation (IBF) was formed back in 1983 and the World Boxing Organization (WBO) was born in 1988. The Ring Magazine Title won’t be on the line even though it’s vacant after Tyson Fury was stripped of it. You may have noticed that Joshua is the WBA (super) Heavyweight Champion, and that’s because boxing is well known for creating championship belts to garner more sanctioning fees. Manuel Charr is currently the regular WBA Heavyweight Champion.
9. Largest Indoor Crowd in Boxing History
When Joshua stopped Carlos Takam at Principality Stadium last October it set a new indoor attendance record for boxing at approximately 78,000. This is basically because the stadium has a retractable roof. The previous record was 63,315 at the New Orleans Superdome in September, 1978. That was the night Muhammad Ali regained the heavyweight title for the second time by beating Leon Spinks in their rematch. The Joshua vs Parker bout is expected to pull in 80,000 to set a new indoor record. It will also be the 11th-biggest crowd anywhere for a boxing event. The record is 135,000 for Tony Zale vs Billy Pryor at Juneau Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1941, but the admission was free. The highest paid attendance was 132,274 for the Julio Cesar Chavez vs Greg Haugen bout at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca in 1993.
8. Combined 44-0 with 38 KOS
It’s not too often we see two undefeated heavyweight champions meeting each other and it wasn’t possible back in the good old days when there was just one champion per division. Between them, Joshua and Parker are 44-0 with 38 Kos. Joshua is 20-0 with 20 knockouts while Parker has stopped 18 of his 24 opponents. Joshua captured the IBF Title in April, 2016 when he stopped former champ Charles Martin in the second round. He defended it against Dominic Breazeale (third round) and Eric Molina (seventh round) and added the vacant IBO and WBA Titles by stopping Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round a year later. He then TKO’d Carlos Takam in the 10th round last October to defend all the titles. Parker won the vacant WBO Title in December, 2016 by beating Andy Ruiz by majority decision. He’s defended it against Razvan Cojanu and Hughie Fury by unanimous and majority decision respectively.
7. Common Opponents
Joshua and Parker have just one common opponent in their pro careers and that’s Carlos Takam (35-4-1, 27 Kos) of Cameroon. Parker and Takam met in May, 2016 in New Zealand with Parker winning a close unanimous decision by scores of 116-112, 116-112 and 115-113. Parker was 18-0 at the time and 24 years old and Takam was 33-2-1 and 35 years of age. Takam then met Joshua last October in Wales and was halted in the 10th round. He had a bad cut over his right eye and was dropped in the fourth round, but it was a somewhat controversial stoppage. Joshua was 28 years old and 19-0 while Takam was 36 and 35-3-1. Takam fought well in both bouts, with the tilt against Joshua definitely being more exciting as he landed several big shots of his own. Joshua recently attempted to hire Takam as a sparring partner and Takam told the press Parker has quicker hands than Joshua.
6. Tale of the Tape
When it comes to their physical attributes, Joshua is 6-feet-6-inches tall and has an 82-inch reach. Parker is 6-foot-4 with a reach of 76 inches. This means Parker will need to work his way inside in hope of landing a big shot. As for experience, Joshua has fought 65 rounds as a pro in 20 bouts for an average of just 3.25 rounds per fight. Parker has boxed 123 rounds in 24 contests for an average of 5.1 rounds an outing. Parker has gone the 12-round distance four times in his pro career while Joshua’s longest fight was his April, 2017 win over Wladimir Klitschko which was stopped at the 2:25 mark of the 11th round. Both Parker and Joshua fight out of the orthodox stance with Parker being born January 9th, 1992 and Joshua on October 15th, 1989.
5. Who has the strongest Chin?
Joshua was knocked down in the sixth round by Wladimir Klitschko last April and appeared to be just one punch away from being stopped. However, Klitschko failed to show a killer instinct and Joshua recovered well. The Englishman has also been stopped as an amateur and admitted to being dropped at least once in sparring. He’s considered by many to have a bit of a glass jaw since his legs have been buckled several times as a pro and it’s debatable exactly how many times he’s been down in sparring sessions. As for Parker, he’s never been knocked down in the pro ranks. Even the staunchest Joshua supporters would have to admit Parker appears the have the better whiskers of the two. But of course, it doesn’t really matter how good your chin is if you get nailed with the perfect punch.
4. Who has More Power?
The facts speak for themselves. Joshua has knocked out all 20 of his opponents so far for a 100 per cent record. Parker has stopped 18 of 24 foes for a 75 per cent knockout ratio. Parker has gone the distance six times including his last three bouts and four of his last six. It could be argued that Joshua’s power may be waning though since he didn’t stop Carlos Takam until the 10th round and Wladimir Klitschko took him into the 11th. Joshua also has five first-round Kos, eight in the second, three in the third and two in the seventh round. Parker has stopped three opponents in the first round, five in the second, four in the third, three in the fourth, two in the seventh and one in the eighth round. Joshua is 5-0 in world title fights with five Kos and has fought two current or former world champs. Parker is 3-0 in world title fights with no knockouts.
3. Who’s the Favorite?
According to most bookmakers, Joshua is the current favorite to win at odds of 1/12 with Parker 6/1 and a draw at 33/1. The odds of it going the distance are 7/2 yes and 1/6 no. Joshua is 7/2 to win by stoppage with Parker 8/1. Joshua to win by decision is 9/2 with Parker 20/1. But as Buster Douglas proved when he beat the daylights out of Mike Tyson, the betting odds don’t mean a thing. Boxing experts such as Freddie Roach, Jim Lampley, Hasim Rahman, Paulie Malignaggi, David Coldwell and Virgil Hunter are leaning towards Joshua while Bob Arum and Andre Ward believe Parker will pull it off. Current heavyweights such as Jarrell Miller, Shannon Briggs, David Haye and Andy Ruiz call it a tossup, while Tony Bellew, Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne favor Joshua. In addition, WBC Heavyweight Champ Deontay Wilder says Parker has a good chance, but has to win by knockout.
2. Will There be a Rematch?
If Parker happens to beat Joshua then there is a rematch clause in the contract, which was asked for by Joshua’s team. However, Parker didn’t ask for a rematch clause in case he loses. Of course, if the fight’s a classic and Joshua wins there will be public demand for another bout. If Parker wins and Joshua exercises his right for a rematch then Parker will get the lion’s share of a second bout as he’ll make 55 per cent of the purse. His payment for this fight is reported to be approximately between 30 and 35 per cent. The exact earnings the boxers are expected to take home won’t be determined until the pay-per-view sales are tallied up. If there is a rematch it’s unclear if it will be immediate or sometime down the road.
1. Who Will the Winner Face?
Everybody wants to see just one unified World Heavyweight Champion and that means a showdown against WBC King Deontay Wilder for the winner. If it happens, it means fans will likely see the first heavyweight in history hold the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO Titles at the same time, as long as the fight doesn’t end in a draw. We can also throw in the fringe IBO Belt too if you like. That’s the fight the public is demanding, but it could be a bit complicated since all the boxing organizations have their own rules and rankings. This means they all have their own mandatory challengers. For example, if Alexander Povetkin beats David Price on the undercard then he’ll be the WBA’s mandatory challenger. In addition, if Joshua wins, there are other British heavyweights who are lining up for a shot such as Tyson Fury, Daniel Dubois and the winner of the David Haye vs Tony Bellew rematch.