A preview of what's in store this Saturday when we reach the end of the 'Road to Undisputed'
Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker meet in the ring this Saturday. Both men go in to the fight undefeated and both are putting their respective titles on the line. Anthony Joshua has himself a credible contender and it's going to be Box Office. We take a look below on who's coming out of the heavyweight main event on top.
With both fighters undefeated and hungry for more success, there's an immediate buzz surrounding this bout. It's been billed as the 'Road to Undisputed' for good reason.
At 28, Joshua has two years of experience on Parker who is 26. However Parker has fought 4 more fights than AJ, meaning 4 additional victories notched in his belt. Joshua has made much lighter work of his fights however, having endured just 65 rounds in comparison to Parker's 123.
Both men have reportedly benefited from recent tweaks to their routines in the lead up to the fight too. Joshua has turned his training focus on boxing earlier and running or strength work later in the day (the reverse of his old routine) to ensure he's fresher on the technical elements, while Parker's camp are claiming that his recently surgically repaired elbows are making him an improved hitter by 20%.
Joshua could simply suffer from overconfidence (There's suspicion he's already looking one step beyond this weekend to a potential fight with WBC king Deontay Wilder) - however he shouldn't. He's earned the right to go into this fight as firm favourite for his all-round skill set and ability to thrive in the box office environment. He's also got enough experience under his belt(s) at this stage of his career to not underestimate fighters looking to end his perfect run. "He is dangerous," he recently revealed in a BBC interview referring to Parker, then on to the level of opposition he's used to facing, "I just believe that when people come to fight me, they come 30% better. If he's known to be quick, he will be rapid. If he's known to take a punch, I will have to throw the kitchen sink at him." The authentic and justified confidence just oozes off Joshua.
Parker is well known for his strength with combinations, as Joshua's own sparring partner, Frazer Clarke confirms: "He has fast hands and is a vicious puncher. I think these two will gel and it will be one of the best fights yet." In the build up, Parker has also referred to targeting Joshua's 'glass chin', promising to do what Wladimir Klitschko didn't: "if I catch him and hurt him I'm not going to give him the chance to recover." Parker however hasn't experienced the pressure of fighting in front of 80,000 people before - and this is not home turf for the New Zealand fighter to feel comfortable in. The noise of the crowd could be enough to cause a distraction in focus - something AJ knows all too well about already; "I tried to block the noise out before, but that was a big mistake. You have to ride the energy." That energy will be flowing firmly in Joshua's favour and it's difficult seeing anybody at the moment breaking through the growing wave of momentum that he is continuing to ride - undefeated or not. One thing is for sure, we're guaranteed an epic encounter on Saturday.
Odds are currently stacked towards a Joshua victory. With most sources favouring a points victory or knockout between rounds 4 and 6.
*We also learned while writing this article that AJ used to train in Senior Barber Joe's Uncle's gym before turning pro - certifying him (tenuously...) with Murdock Man status and cementing him as our undisputed favourite for life.
Watch the fight live on Sky Box Office Saturday night
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