Sports

Joshua to face Parker in heavyweight unification fight

Joshua to face Parker in heavyweight unification fight

Months of negotiations and trash talk are over with confirmation that Kiwi world heavyweight boxing champion Joseph Parker will put his titles on the line a massive unification bout against Englishman Anthony Joshua on March 31.

Hearn tweeted the confirmation of the much-anticipated world heavyweight fight, which will be held at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Britain's Joshua (20-0) won the IBF heavyweight title with a KO win over visiting American Charles Martin at the O2 Arena in April of 2016. He survived the first knockdown of his career to stop the Ukrainian veteran in the 11th round. "Being involved in a big fight is exciting - it's going to be a little part of history".

Briton Joshua, 28, has expressed his desire to unify the belts in 2018 and begins his quest against the 26-year-old New Zealand fighter in the same venue where he defended his titles last against Carlos Takam last October.

"These fights aren't easy because there is a lot on the line, so respect to team Parker for taking the challenge", Joshua said.

"And you know me, I love this game".

"We all know what happened last time I was in a unification fight".

He made his British debut a year ago with a majority points win over challenger Hughie Fury, a cousin of former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

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Parker's promoter David Higgins predicted that his fighter will ruin the flawless record of Joshua.

Parker said: 'Anthony Joshua is in for a huge shock. "A couple of months ago I heard him say 'why should I be anxious about this little kid from New Zealand"? "Well, now he's about to find out". And the world is about to find out whether AJ can really take a punch.

He clearly showed he could, against Klitschko, but he also struggled to hold off the much older Klitschko at times in that fight.

Joshua's promoter, Eddie Hearn, can barely contain his excitement.

"I like to fight, that's the main objective, and it's showing I'm never shy of a competition", Joshua said.

The American, whose three-year reign as champion is the longest in the division, wants a fight with Joshua, calling the British Olympic gold medal victor out after beating Bermane Stiverne in November.

The winner-takes-all contest will put the victor within touching distance of becoming the first undisputed Heavyweight champion of the world since Lennox Lewis in 1999.


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