Parker tipped to take Joshua the distance but lose on decision

Anthony Joshua (left) and Joseph Parker square off during a press conference at the Dorchester...
Anthony Joshua (left) and Joseph Parker square off during a press conference at the Dorchester Hotel in London in January. Photo: Getty Images
It is just over a week to go until the bout between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker. Jack Salter has a look at the two men.

 

Joseph Parker
WBO Champion

Age: 26
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 1.95m (6ft 4in)
Record: 24 wins 0 losses
Knockouts: 18

The road to unificationAfter debuting in 2012, Parker easily accounted for his first 18 opponents with 16 finishes before a rise in class pitted him against the granite-chinned Carlos Takam in a WBO title eliminator in May, 2016.

Possessing  a superior jab and a higher work rate, Parker passed his first real test, winning a unanimous decision.

Two stoppage wins followed before Parker won the WBO title in December 2016, beating Andy Ruiz jun  in a razor-thin victory that might have gone Ruiz’s way had he kept his hands up and moved his head more often rather than defending with it.

A forgettable unanimous decision win in May last year against Hughie Fury replacement Razvan Cojanu followed.

Parker dominated every round but failed to hurt the big Romanian, with whom he had sparred over 80 rounds in the lead-up to what he thought would be a fight with Fury. Parker finally faced WBO mandatory Fury in his second title defence last September in Manchester.

What was meant to be Parker’s big showing on the British scene turned into a limp arrival, as Fury refused to truly engage and Parker chased him around the ring rather than smartly cutting the ring off.

Parker won by majority decision, two judges scoring it 118-110 and the third scoring a draw.

Strengths: A proven chin tested against Takam and Ruiz, a strong jab, some of the fastest hands in the division and deep-water 12-round experiences.

Weaknesses: Has a tendency to drop his hands down, especially his lead left, sometimes backs straight back defensively as opposed to sliding away to his right, gets hit a lot and he seems to have lost the knockdown hurt in his hands.

Keys to victory: Silence the crowd by starting strongly, jab hard and often from different angles, take the air out of him by landing body shots, keep up a relentless pace and throw some left hooks. Brit Dillian Whyte and Wladimir  Klitschko both hurt Joshua with left hooks.

 

Anthony Joshua
WBA (super), IBF, IBO champion

Age: 28
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 2.01m (6ft 6in)
Record: 20 wins 0 losses
Knockouts: 20

The road to unification

Following an Olympic super heavyweight gold win in 2012, Joshua turned professional in 2013.

He racked up 14 stoppage wins, all inside three rounds before facing his first genuine threat in Whyte in 2015.

Hurt in round two, Joshua recovered well to out-punch Whyte and eventually stop him in round seven.

Joshua won the IBF title in April, 2016, easily dispatching Charles Martin.

Two straightforward defences followed before an epic stoush against Klitschko in London last year. With four knockdowns in total, both men contributed to one of the best heavyweight fights in recent memory.

Joshua recovered from being dropped and in real trouble in round six to stop Klitschko in round 11 thanks largely to a cracking right uppercut.

With three belts to his name, Joshua then controversially beat 12-days replacement Carlos Takam in October when the fight was stopped in the 10th round, despite Takam appearing fine to continue.

Strengths: With a reach of 82 inches (2m), Joshua has about a five-inch reach advantage and that is massive against Parker. He also has a dominant jab, plus a lethal right hand and uppercut, and he possesses legitimate knockout power.

Weaknesses: Never been in the deep waters of 12 rounds, limited head movement, has a lot of muscle mass to circulate oxygen around for fuel, does not have a glass chin but it does not look unbreakable either.

Keys to victory: Use his reach advantage and punch from range, do not get into a toe-to-toe battle and instead out-box Parker, making him get desperate to land.

The prediction

Parker performs admirably becoming the first to take Joshua the distance but he fails to regain his knockout prowess and struggles to get inside Joshua’s jab.

Joshua wins via decision. 

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