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JOSHUA vs Parker - The Unification Fight

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Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker 

Saturday 31st March is the chosen date for the mouthwatering heavyweight unification fight, between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

This monster heavyweight clash is the first of a kind in the UK, as it will be the first time that two undefeated heavyweights try to unify the division on UK shores. Joshua holds the IBF, WBA and IBO versions of the world titles, while Parker holds the WBO title.

Only one of these two warriors will leave Cardiff as the unified world champion, with only undefeated American Deontay Wilder holding the WBC title. This will be the second time that the Anthony Joshua juggernaut has fought in the Millennium Stadium, after Joshua successfully defended his world titles against Carlos Takam in October.

Joshua broke the news that the fight had all been agreed live on his Instagram, before premotor Eddie Hearn spoke to Sky Sports "I'm delighted to get this fight made - it's been a long time coming,

"It's the first time in history that two reigning heavyweight world champions have met in Britain."

Young Stars

Both fighters have shot through the rankings in double quick time, as both fighters have only had 44 fights between them. This will be Joshua’s second unification title in less than a year, and in just his 21st fight is nothing short of remarkable.

Anthony Joshua won his first world title (IBF) in April 2016, when he stopped American Charles Martin in the second round at the O2 in London. Joseph Parker became the first ever heavyweight champion from New Zealand, when he beat Andy Ruiz by a majority decision in December 2016 to claim the vacant WBO title.

Sky Sports Box Office 

This mega heavyweight fight will be shown live on Sky Sports Box Office on the 31st March, in what will be a sellout 80,000 capacity in the Welsh capital. Over 70,000 tickets have been sold in less than 24 hours of going on sale.

Anthony Joshua flights seem to have outgrown UK indoor arenas, with his last two fights selling out both Wembley ( 90,000) and The Principality (80,000) with this set to join the previous two as sellouts.

With Joshua selling this kind of numbers, the likes of the O2 (17,000) and the MEN (22,000) simply can’t cope anymore. With the lack of indoor facilities, it means that stadium fights only now seem possible for AJ in the UK from now on. So moving forward this could see AJ fighting outside the UK more during the colder winter months.

The winner of this fight looks set to fight Deontay Wilder then when it will all be on the line in the heavyweight division. From a UK fight perspective, we also have the prospect of Anthony Joshua v Tyson Fury on the horizon. Fury has been now cleared to fight again following problems with the authorities in recent years.

Fury hasn’t fought since beating Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015, yet the Gypsy King still claims to be the true heavyweight champion as he never lost his titles in the ring and the other fighters have been handed them. The thought of Joshua v Fury in 2018 has fight fans on the edge of there seats, to see who the real king of the ring is.

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ANTHONY JOSHUA

Joshua Profile

Nationality:  British

Weight: Heavyweight

Height: 6'6 (198m)

Reach: 82 in (183cm)

Date of Birth: 15 October 1989 (age 28)

Stance: Orthodox

Total Fights:20

Wins: 20

Drawn: 0

Loss: 0

Win by KO: 20

Anthony Joshua will enter the ring for his 21st professional bout, and as it stands, it’s a perfect one with 20 wins from 20 fights with 20 knockouts. Joshua only turned professional in 2013 and has shot through the heavyweight division. The furthest anyone has taken Joshua is Wladimir Klitschko, when the former champion of the world lasted to the 11th round but when the same way as the rest in the end.

AJ will be looking to add the WBO championship to his collection of belts on the 31st of March, as he looks to continue his domination of the heavyweight division.

Comments from the corners -

"I haven't seen them all, but I've heard some of them.
"In sports, you've got the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, [Lionel] Messi, LeBron James, and then you've got people like Joseph Parker, so he's not a respectable type of person, he can't control himself.
"But that's just how it is. You've got to accept people for who they are. If that's how he wants to plan his shot, we let him crack on.
"He'll be respectful after I whoop him. He might try to shake my hand. I won't shake his hand though."
"

JOSEPH PARKER

Parker Profile

Nationality: New Zealand

Weight: Heavyweight

Height: 6'4 (193m)

Reach: 78 in (198cm)

Date of Birth: 9 January 1992 (age 26)

Stance: Orthodox

Total Fights: 24

Wins: 24

Drawn: 0

Loss: 0

Win by KO: 18

Joseph Parker will face the toughest test of his career to date when he meets Anthony Joshua on the 31st March. Parker boasts a perfect record to date having won 24 out of 24 fights with 18 coming by ko. Parker won the WBO title against Andy Ruiz in December 2016, since then Parker has defended his title twice. The last was against Hughie Fury, cousin of former champion of the world Tyson. Parker won the latest defence with majority decision at the MEN Arena in Manchester.

This will be the biggest fight of Parker’s career in all senses, from stature, crowd and money, so we will see if Parker is the real deal of just holding that title for someone else.

Comments from the corners -

Obviously training hard, putting in the work, and then coming with my team to put on a good show in March.
"I can do a lot of damage. I feel like it's my time. He thinks it's his time, so it's just about who trains hardest, who wants it more and we're both going to put our undefeated records on the line.
"May the best champion win."

JOSHUA vs Parker - The Venue

Cardiff Principality Stadium

The Welsh capital of Cardiff is the chosen venue for this first of a kind fight, with the Principality Stadium hosting this epic battle of champions.  The way Joshua’s defence against Carlos Takam went so smoothly made it an easy choice for Matchroom to pick this special venue. With a sellout 80,000 packed into the Millennium Stadium, the atmosphere will be electric for this champion v champion battle.