There is a huge amount of buzz swirling around boxing’s heavyweight division once more.
Much of the credit must go to Anthony Joshua, whose star has been on the rise over the past couple of the years.
The Watford-born fighter (20-0, 20KOs) has matched his in-ring skills with a natural charm and charisma which has seen him become a permanent fixture in the press of late. He will take on New Zealander Joseph Parker (24-0, 18KOs) in a title unification fight on 31st March at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff.
Joshua is no stranger to the fighting in huge stadia, as he beat Carlos Takam at the Principality and Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in 2017. The bout will see Joshua put his IBO, IBF and WBA (Super) heavyweight titles up for grabs, with Parker putting up his WBO belt.
First undisputed heavyweight since Lennox Lewis a possibility in 2018. The idea of a crowning an undisputed heavyweight champion – the first since Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield were trading blows in the late 1990s – has really caught the imagination of the public.
Most are expecting Joshua to do the business against Parker and then to set his sights on the final belt (WBC), currently held by Deontay Wilder.
Joshua’s future is crucial to UK heavyweight boxing, with his potential opponents always a source of interest.
Future fights against Deontay Wilder and, perhaps, Tyson Fury are widely talked about, however he must not lose sight of how dangerous Parker can be.
The New Zealander is also undefeated and, while he has not come up against someone of Joshua’s calibre before, he has the weapons in his locker to cause Joshua trouble.
Betting points to easy Joshua victory
Betting is expected to be heavy on the match, with Joshua installed as a 1/10 shot to take the win. He is priced at 1/4 to win by stoppage and 9/2 to win by decision.
Parker is available at 6/1 to win the fight, 9/1 to win by KO/TKO and 33/1 with Betfair to win by decision.
Because the fight is so high-profile, UK bookmakers have lots of betting markets so check out the latest Joshua v Parker expert betting tips to get a complete breakdown.
Most fans believe the fight will go Joshua’s way. Indeed, he is priced at evens to take in the first six rounds.
But Parker does have his backers and it will be interesting to see if this barbs about Joshua’s ‘glass chin’ and stamina issues hold weight, or if was just the usual trash-talk.
While Joshua seems very level-headed, all the pressure will be on him to perform in Cardiff. Parker has something of a free shot in the Principality Stadium.
Wilder v Joshua mega-fight could take place in the summer
Boxing’s money men will be hoping that a Joshua victory is the second domino to fall in the month of March.
WBC champion Deontay Wilder will fight unbeaten Cuban fighter Luis Ortiz on 3rd March in
New York. Wilder, available at odds of 2/5 against Ortiz, has been gunning for Joshua for the past year. If both fights follow the odds, we could be looking at a showdown between the pair later in the year.