Eddie Hearn has admitted he is worried for Anthony Joshua ahead of his unification battle with New Zealand’s Joseph Parker.
The Brit returns to the Principality as a huge favourite to add the WBO strap to his mantel piece, but the Matchroom mogul believes it will be Joshua’s toughest challenge to date.
Speaking exclusively to World Boxing News Hearn assessed the potential dangers of the highly anticipated clash. He said: “I’m concerned about the fight; it’s a very hard fight. In a way, it’s tougher than the Klitschko fight, mainly stylistically and also, Anthony has a lot more to lose.
“People are starting to think Parker has a real good chance of winning this fight and he does. The odds are mad, I see it 60/40 in favour of Joshua. If he can do the things I know he can do then he wins by knockout, but Parker can do so many things that can change the fight. We have two young, hungry, undefeated champions – it could go either way.
“One of the reasons Parker looked so poor in his previous fight was because both of his elbows were injured. I’m not too happy about that because I wasn’t aware of those issues and it means he’ll be 100% for this fight,” he smirked.
“But that’s how it should be. Let’s see two elite heavyweights go at it,” Hearn added.
Following a magnificent win over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium, Joshua sluggishly retained his titles against Carlos Takam after referee Phil Edwards intervened in round 10.
Joshua had just 12 days to prepare for the Canadian following Kubrat Pulev’s decision to pull-out after sustaining a shoulder injury. The change of opponent was cited as one of the reasons to why Joshua struggled to reach the heights of previous performances.
“At the end of the day, it was great that we managed to get through that fight, through the event, and get the mandatory defence in,” Hearn stated.
“It’s probably a good thing that people see weaknesses in him, but let’s break it down – he stopped Takam in ten rounds, one judge gave Takam a round so it wasn’t that bad of a performance. People think Joshua is a superhero and he’s going to walk through everybody. He’s a massive favourite for fights against Parker, Wilder and Fury. We need to remember, he’s had just 20 fights, it’s hard for him as there’s a lot of pressure on him to deliver!”
Hearn understands a victory will all but set up a dream showdown with WBC champion Deontay Wilder. And the Essex enigma couldn’t resist a sly dig towards the American and his team.
“Technically this is a much tougher fight than Wilder. The match-up against Wilder is pretty simple, he has to keep his shape, follow his boxing and he will knock him out. If we can get this fight out the way then the Wilder fight is inevitable.”
Quizzed on how negotiations were going for the potential mega-fight, Hearn quipped: “He’s got three managers, which one do I have to deal with first.”
Sky Sports Box Office will exclusively show the Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker unification fight on 31 March. Available to buy now at www.sky.com/orderboxoffice
Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95