Heavyweight supremacy is one step closer to reality. Anthony Joshua, unified IBF/WBA titleholder, and Joseph Parker, WBO titlist, will face off on March 31 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Negotiations had been ongoing for several months, with Parker’s team being vocal about holding out for a “fair split” of the purse proceeds. Although financial figures have not been disclosed, Joshua took to social media to confirm the fight with a video.
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) January 14, 2018
Joshua is coming off a high-profile 2017 that saw him retire Wladimir Klitschko with an 11th round TKO last April in the consensus Fight of the Year. His last bout in October was a one-sided 10th round TKO over Carlos Takam. Parker also posted two victories last year over Razvan Cojanu (UD12) and Hughie Fury (MD12).
Joshua’s last fight at Principality Stadium was against Takam and drew over 78,000, breaking an indoor attendance record previously held by Muhammad Ali.
Despite Parker’s protests about money the last few weeks, we knew this was inevitable. This was Parker’s biggest possible payday and it gives AJ the chance to add a third belt to his collection. Not only is it a credible fight between two undefeated young heavyweights with knockout power, it further cleans up the title picture and brings us one step from the first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis. And for AJ, it gives him further contract leverage over rival and WBC title-holder Deontay Wilder, who faces Luis Ortiz on March 3.
As for the fight, I see another Joshua KO. Parker’s momentum is low considering his lackluster showings against his best opponents in Hughie Fury and Andy Ruiz. Parker likes to barrel in with wide lead hooks and rarely works behind the jab. I see Joshua’s jab befuddling Parker and keeping him in range for right hands and left hooks. I also see the smaller Parker taking lots of damage from AJ’s lethal uppercut. Look for a middle-rounds stoppage that puts the hype even higher for Joshua-Wilder in late 2018.