IBO, IBF and WBA (Super) heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will take on WBO champion Joseph Parker in a unification fight in Cardiff on 31st March. The two unbeaten fighters are set to pack out the 75,000 capacity Principality Stadium in Cardiff, UK, with millions around the word catching the action on PPV. It is being hyped as the biggest fight of the year, although Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez might take some exception to that tag.
The fight, while a worthy spectacle in its own right, is part of an intriguing shift of focus towards the heavyweight division. WBC champion Deontay Wilder will defend his title in New York against Luis Ortiz on 3rd March. It is expected that the two winners will clash in a bid to crown the undisputed heavyweight champion some time later in the year.
Joshua enjoying the limelight as boxing’s rising star
Joshua and Parker though, have caught the attention of the media in a manner not seen in the division in many years. Much of the focus has gone on British fighter Joshua, with the former Olympic champion enjoying a 100% perfect record of 20 KO’s in 20 professional fights. He is still just 28-years-old and tipped by many to dominate the heavyweight division for years to come. While Parker’s record does not have the same beautiful symmetry of his opponent, the New Zealander is still unbeaten in his 24 fights, with 18 of those wins coming by KO.
Bookmakers have installed Joshua as overwhelming favourite for the fight, with odds averaging around 1/10 for him to win the fight. He is 1/4 to win by KO/TKO/Disqualification and 9/2 to win by decision or technical decision. Parker meanwhile is priced at 6/1 to win the fight, with odds of 9/1 for a knockout and up to 33/1 (Betfair) to win by decision. Betting is expected to be very heavy and there are plenty of bookmakers’ promotions available, including Joshua v Parker free bet offers.
Joshua’s perfect record put on the line in Cardiff
When comparing the fighters’ two records it is perhaps understandable that the bookmakers have gone all-in on Joshua. That perfect record included a KO win in the 11th against Wladimir Klitscho and a 10th round KO against Carlos Takam. Parker, meanwhile, has had to go the distance in his last three fights, with some of the judges’ decisions proving to be controversial to some observers.
In the tale of the tape, Joshua has the advantage over Parker in almost all departments, including four inches in reach (82in v 78in). However, Parker does have quick feet and swift hands and is generally perceived as a gutsy fighter who inevitably finds a way to win. Also, it should be noted that Joshua has been troubled in the past. Klitschko knocked him down twice in their bout, although Joshua did come back strong to win the fight. Odds of 6/1 are being offered for Joshua to be knocked down and still win against Parker.
More to come from heavyweights in 2018 and beyond
The interest in this fight is expected to build and build over the coming weeks. There is also a very good undercard, with David Price v Alexander Povetkin recently added to the bill. Regardless of whether Joshua and Parker will deliver on the hype, the atmosphere in Cardiff will be electric with tens of thousands packing the stadium for British hero Joshua. The winner will then proceed to another big fight later in the year. The heavyweight division has become box office again.