At the National Concert Hall of Wales, the near-capacity crowd is a prelude to the record-tying audience expected at Principality Stadium on Saturday. Nearly 80,000 fans will match boxing’s all-time indoor attendance record, initially set in 2017 in Joshua’s title defense against Carlos Takam at the same venue.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins to live at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT from ringside in Cardiff as IBF and WBA Champion Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) and WBO Champion Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) meet in just the second unification between undefeated heavyweight champions in history.
The 6-foot-6 Joshua will make his fifth defense as a champion against the 6-foot-4 Parker, who defends his title for the third time. Joshua owns a 100 percent knockout ratio, while Parker has never been knocked down as an amateur or professional.
Here’s what the fighters had to say:
“This is bigger than last time. Boxing is bigger than ever right now. This is the golden era, and I’m happy to be a part of it.
“It’s good news that he wants a war. In boxing, all you need is a good chin and a right hand, but I’ve been working on finesse, technique, counter punching. I hope Joseph Parker falls into my booby traps because I’m going to set him up with some power shots as well. Yeah, I’ll be up for a war. I’ll hopefully be up for some blood, sweat, and cheers from my corner.
“Physically, I believe in my ability. I’m focused, and I understand it’s a boxing match, and the people are expecting the pinnacle of boxing. Hopefully, they’ll be able to see me through to victory.
“You need to keep that challenger’s mindset still. I’m still the challenger in my head, and sometimes I don’t want to be seen with the belts around me too much. Now that I’m the hunted, it’s no time just to put my feet up and relax. I’m out there defending my throne on Saturday night.
“I can’t worry about it [futures bouts]. Saturday night is where it’s at and is big enough. Saturday night is massive.”
“Since we’ve been here, we’ve been welcomed with open arms. I expect a good crowd, a fair crowd. Many people are supporting Joshua here, but we have a lot of support back home. It’s great to see all my family and friends here, and we’ve got some support here, as well.
“All Black (New Zealand rugby) style has always done well here in Wales, so I’m looking to keep that record clean.”
“I think some of the things our team has said has gotten under his skin. I’m not unhappy. He looks a little unhappy and a little tense. I think everyone’s different in how they approach a fight. We’re quite relaxed and calm. I’m excited about this fight, but it’s a controlled excitement.
“Klitschko’s a great fighter and champion who we respect, but Klitschko is Klitschko. I’m a different story altogether. I’m young and hungry, I’m fit and strong, and I got my speed back. I will show that on Saturday.
“I’ve got the speed, power, skills, technique, all of the above.
“See you soon, [Anthony Joshua]. Let’s go to war!”