Joshua: Parker Will Be My 2nd Toughest Fight

Anthony Joshua has made a habit of collecting world heavyweight championship belts. Charles Martin’s IBF title came first two years ago, then the vacant WBA (Super) and IBO titles in his huge fight with Wladimir Klitschko a year ago. Now, it’s springtime again, and on Saturday, Joseph Parker, and his WBO title are on the plate at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Joshua is now a big enough attraction in his native United Kingdom that this is his third consecutive stadium fight and he may not even need to bother with pursuing American stardom, but he hasn’t let it go to his head and he certainly isn’t looking past Parker towards a much clamored-for fight with WBC champion Deontay Wilder.

Joshua sees Parker as being his second toughest fight to date after Wladimir Klitschko, he told FIGHT SPORTS:

“I think that Parker will take more risks,” he said. “And you know what they say: No risk, no reward. I think he’ll be game and hungry. I think *I’ll* take some more risks in the fight with Parker, because I’m more confident.”

That confidence comes from going into the later rounds in his last couple fights, whereas most of his previous wins came with early stoppages. “You know that confidence that you have? If someone told you to walk through hellfire and you’d never done it, you’d be scared. But if you’d done it and come out the other end? And you do it again? Knowing I can go through the rounds? I’m ready. I’ve trained hard, I’ve lived through it, I’ve prayed. I feel focused and I feel ready.”

As for the matchup in the ring, Joshua thinks it’s fairly straightforward.

“You know these type of fighters that don’t have any finesse? They’re spoilers. Swing a right hand, jump on your chest. Swing a left hook jump on your chest. That’s gotta be the area where [he’s better]. He can’t box with me. My feet will get me in and out of distance, that’s what he can do to make things awkward.” While Joshua doesn’t want to jinx his the fight, he does see a clear path to victory, he’s still not shy about wanting the Deontay Wilder fight next should all go well.

“I don’t want to jinx my challenge,” he explained. “But if we were looking into a crystal ball? Of course. This is the road to being undisputed heavyweight champion.”

When the topic turned to his marketability relative to other recent star fighters, Joshua showed a keen awareness of what separates the big draws from the great technicians who don’t move the needle. “What I learned is that [Floyd] Mayweather is a technical fighter, but he’s very, very good at building himself up outside of the ring. [It’s hard] if you can’t sell yourself outside the ring, and you’re a technical fighter, it’s kind of like the issue with the Cubans. It’s difficult for Klitschko because English isn’t his first language, and he hasn’t got a name that people from the western countries can pronounce well. It’s not like his name is John Smith, so it’s hard for the media to market him.”

Of course, Joshua is a marketable personality outside of the ring and is not just a technician

“I’m all about power punches, man,” he noted. “Let me be humble with it: I wanna perform well, it’s a 12 round fight, and if it goes there, I’m mentally [ready]. If I’m gonna knock someone out in the first round, you’re going to get that excitement, 100%.” If his past fights are any indication, he’s right on the money about that part.

 

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