THE boxing world will start on Sunday when its biggest star faces his stiffest test in a throwback to the heavyweight golden era.
NOT content with giving up a height, reach and crowd advantage to Anthony Joshua, New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker will also enter the ring lighter than the unbeaten Brit.
A crowd 4500 were on hand at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on Saturday (AEDT) for the official weigh-in ahead of Sunday’s unification bout at the nearby Principality Stadium.
Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker Live
Date: March 31, 2018
Start Time : 5pm ET
Location : Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
WBA, IBF and IBO champion Joshua (20-0) came in 2.7kg heavier than Parker’s 107kg.
Both fighters were lighter than their previous bouts, Joshua 5.5kg lighter than his last fight in October for his lowest fighting weight in four years and Parker the same amount smaller than his last outing against Hughie Fury.
A confident Parker (24-0) wasn’t making too much of the disparity.
“He’s in good shape, I’m in good shape,” he said. “There’s not much of a weight difference, which is good. We’re both going to be fast for tomorrow night, we’re both going to move well and throw some big bombs.”
The two combatants again shared a long stare-down, but unlike Wednesday’s press conference in London there was no encore.
“I saw confidence in him. I’m here for a good fight, I’m here for war,” Parker added. “You’re going to have to give me everything to beat me … he’s got a bigger crowd but that doesn’t matter, that doesn’t faze us.”
Joshua has one eye on history but again insisted Sunday’s fight was his only focus despite continuing talk of an ultimate unification bout against Deontay Wilder of the US.
“Even though I’m the champion of the world, in my mind I’m a challenger. I’m challenging for the WBO world title,” he said.
“I’m hungry, determined, and willing to go the distance to get him out of there.
“These wins are creating history. This is history. Last person to do this was Mike Tyson 30 years ago.
“If I get this win, we will set history in 2018 and become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.”
A traditional haka introduced Parker, who took to the Cardiff stage first. The raucous crowd wasted no time pledging their allegiance to Joshua, who took to the stage behind a brass band and chants of “Oh, Anthony Joshua” to the tune of The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, followed by Drake’s current hit God’s Plan.
Earlier, a chorus of boos greeted Parker’s promoter David Higgins, who baited the partisan crowd by again reminding them that, unlike Joshua, the New Zealander has never been dropped in the ring nor in training.