Undefeated heavyweight world champions Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker fast approach Saturday’s Heavyweight World Championship Unification live on SHOWTIME from Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
The British sensation Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) owns the IBF and WBA titles, while New Zealand’s Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) is the reigning WBO Champion.
The two will meet on Saturday in just the 11th unification in heavyweight history in front of what is expected to be nearly 80,000 boxing fans at the national stadium of Wales.
The blockbuster matchup marks just the second heavyweight championship unification between undefeated world titleholders. The last fighter to emerge victorious from a matchup of unbeaten heavyweight champions was Mike Tyson in 1987.
Here’s what Joshua trainer Robert McCracken and Parker coach Kevin Barry had to say:
ROBERT McCRACKEN, Joshua’s Trainer:
“Parker is a different opponent than Takam or Klitschko. He’s undefeated, so he doesn’t believe he can lose.
“But being fast and being calm and relaxed doesn’t prepare you for getting into a ring with Anthony Joshua. Not just the size of him, he’s very imposing in the ring, but he hits you and you don’t know where you’re getting hit. I think we’ve seen that in all of his contests to date.
“Anthony’s in great shape. He’s looking forward to the fight and he just sees it as another fight on the ladder to trying to become the undisputed champion. That’s the reason why the fight is taking place.
“Parker’s the WBO champion. He’s a good fighter. He’s unbeaten and he’s a challenge that AJ is up for.
“He ticks all the boxes. He can box. He can fight. He’s a devastating puncher, himself. And he can take a devastating shot, so he’s improving all the time. He’s learning all the time. He’s already the unified champion.
“He’s already an Olympic gold medalist. It’s part of the journey that he sees himself becoming the undisputed champion.”
KEVIN BARRY: Parker’s Trainer
“These are two guys that are young, two guys that are at the top of their game. Usually, when you have two very skillful, undefeated fighters in the ring together it will come down to who can execute the game plan the best on the night.
“I’ve said all along that I believed out of all the heavyweight champions, that Joseph Parker has the best skill. I believe he can do more. I believe he has the fastest hands. On Saturday night, we’ll find out whether I’m dreaming or whether I’ve been right all along.
“I think we’ve had our best training camp, and I know trainers say that all the time but over the last two years, we’ve had a really rough time with Joseph’s elbows. I think it’s shown in his performances. We’ve had a couple of surgeries just prior to Christmas last year. This camp, 11 weeks in Las Vegas, have been the most enjoyable time that Joe and I have spent together in the five years that we’ve had.
“We decided right from the get-go that we were not going to let the occasion beat us. One of the huge strengths of Joseph Parker has always been the way he controls his emotions.
“I’ve said on several occasions, whether it’s 800, 8,000 or 80,000, it will be the same Joseph Parker smiling all the way to the ring. Joseph has wanted this challenge for so long, an opportunity to prove that he is the best heavyweight in the world. Obviously, we believe that he beats Joshua or otherwise, we wouldn’t be here.”