Golden boy Anthony Joshua will be hoping to add the WBO title to his WBA ‘Super’, IBO and IBF titles when he faces Kiwi Joseph Parker on Saturday night. The pair will face off in front of 78,000 fans at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in what is set to be a historical night for British boxing. Those lucky enough to have bagged tickets for Saturday’s blockbuster will witness two reigning undefeated heavyweight champions go toe to toe on British soil for the first time ever.
The victor will be one step closer to setting up a bout with undefeated American Deontay Wilder and the potential to become undisputed world heavyweight champion. But before either fighter can even contemplate facing the outspoken American, there’s Saturday’s fight to overcome, and it’s not to be missed.
Incredibly, this will only be Anthony Joshua’s 21st professional fight. He’s 28 years old and already has three world titles to his name. Of course, the Watford-born heavyweight became a household name after triumphing at the London Olympics and that same year he turned professional. Since then, the heavyweight has gone from strength to strength, in more ways than one, and has fast become the biggest name in boxing.
AJ, who is yet to fight outside of the UK, has won all 20 of his previous professional bouts by stoppage, so good luck Joseph! Last time out, Joshua faced Frenchman Carlos Takam in front of a packed out Principality Stadium, but despite stopping the awkward 36-year-old in the 10th round, Joshua received criticism and was even booed from a section of the crowd who felt his performance was below standard. But in his defence, he had been preparing to fight Kubrat Pulev, before the Bulgarian injured his shoulder in the week leading up to the fight. Takam, who is three inches smaller, stepped in at late notice and proved a stern test for Joshua, but it wasn’t his toughest.
This time last year, Anthony Joshua stepped into the ring to face Wladimir Klitschko, in what would be the Brit’s biggest fight of his career to date, and what a battle it was. After hitting the canvas for the first time in his professional career, Joshua famously found heart and fought back to stop the legendary Ukrainian in the 11th round. AJ proved his doubters wrong. He showed heart. He showed grit. He showed determination. He showed the characteristics of a champion. And now he has the world at his feet, the whole heavyweight division wants a bit of AJ – he’s the big payday.
Like Joshua, Joseph Parker turned pro in 2012 and went on to win the WBO title four years later. In doing so, he became the first boxer from New Zealand or the Pacific Islands to win a heavyweight world title. At the age of 26, Parker is two years younger than his British opponent but has four more professional bouts under his belt with a 75% knockout rate.
The Kiwi is unbeaten in professional boxing, but many experts believe he’ll be out of his depth when he steps into the ring with the 6 ft 6” Londoner. Parker is yet to face anyone of AJ’s calibre, and this will be by far the toughest fight of his career to date; Parker lacks experience against high-quality opposition and failed to knockout Andy Ruiz Jr, Razvan Cojanu and Hughie Fury in his previous three fights. Niggling injuries to his shoulder and elbow have apparently restricted the Kiwi’s power. But following surgery late last year all issues look to have been resolved and Parker is in the best shape of his life.
Will it be enough to dethrone Joshua? We’ll have to wait and see! Parker’s camp has been critical of AJ’s apparent ‘glass chin’, so they’ll be hoping to test that from the start with a barrage of uppercuts and hooks.
Parker is two inches smaller than AJ, has a shorter reach and is expected to weigh in the lighter of the two fighters. What he lacks in power and brutality, he’ll be hoping to make up for with quick movement, fast footwork and rapid hand speed. Joseph Parker is well known for having a solid chin but has never faced anyone with Joshua’s power and intensity – the man’s a genetic freak! Joshua is expected to set the tempo early on and dictate the fight from the centre of the ring. It’ll be up to Parker to disrupt his opponents rhythm and use his speed to pick Joshua off, when or if he gets chance!
Anthony Joshua has never gone past 11 rounds. He’s stopped everyone he’s fought in professional boxing and is hugely odds on to win. For those after more value, check out the round betting markets and consider a dutch betting approach.
From the press conference, it seems like AJ and his camp are preparing for a long night, so backing the Brit to win in rounds 7-12 looks great value. AJ has never gone the distance, but there’s always a first time for everything and he’s a massive-looking 5/1 to win on points.
Summary of our suggested bets
AJ to win on points
6.00 (5/1) with Black Type
AJ to win in round 7
11.00 (10/1) with Black Type
AJ to win in round 8
11.00 (10/1) with Black Type
AJ to win in round 9
12.00 (11/1) with Black Type
AJ to win in round 10
13.00 (12/1) with Black Type
AJ to win in round 11
17.00 (16/1) with Black Type
AJ to win in round 12
23.00 (22/1) with Black Type
If Parker is to shock the world and claim the victory, you’d fancy the bout to go the distance. But does he really have the power to stop AJ? Doubtful. The Kiwi is around 6/1 to win the bout and 25/1 to win on points if you fancied a small saver bet or prefer the idea of a shock victory.
Whatever the outcome on Saturday, this has all the ingredients to be a cracker! Two unbeaten world champions, in their prime going toe to toe, there can only be one winner, so let’s hope for a memorable fight!
Make sure you keep an eye on the undercard too, there are some decent bouts that will provide lots of betting potential and out resident Boxing Betting Tipster will be updating you with the action.
*Odds correct at time of writing (16:00 GMT 28th March 2018)