The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins live at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT from ringside at Principality Stadium where 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.
Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) scaled his lightest in 10 fights, and more than 10 pounds lighter than his October 2017 defense of the IBF and WBA titles, while Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) measured 10 pounds lighter than all three of his world championship bouts.
“Carrying around a bit of extra weight makes things difficult,” Joshua said. “I’ve been running well, training well. There’s been tough times in camp, but losing that little bit of extra weight has made things that little bit easier.
“It’s a perfect weight for the fighter I’m about to face tomorrow because he’s nimble and he’s quick. I’ve got boxing skill and I can control him, but I think the lighter I am the more I’ll be able to match him for speed.”
Parker, who will make his third defense as champion, took note of Joshua’s lighter weight.
“(Joshua’s weight) makes me think that he’s taking the fight very seriously,” Parker said. “There’s not much of a weight difference, which is good. I think we’re both going to be fast tomorrow night. We’re both going to move well and throw some big bombs.
“I saw confidence in Joshua. He’s a good champion. I saw confidence so I’m expecting a really good fight.”
American Steve Weisfeld, New Zealand’s Ian Scott and Britain’s Steve Gray have been assigned as the three judges scoring from ringside. The third man in the ring will be Italy’s Giuseppe Quartarone.
“I’m not worried about a decision,” Parker said. “We’ve done everything we can in training to prepare. The biggest thing for me is the challenge of fighting someone like Joshua. If it goes into a dark place, how long will I stay there for? How fast can I come back?
“I’m here for a good fight. I’m here for a war. You’re going to have to give everything to beat me.”
The massive global event will be watched in more than 215 territories throughout the world, a distribution figure that is on par with some of the biggest boxing events in history.
“You have to remember that even though I’m heavyweight champion of the world, there’s another belt I’m fighting for. In my mind, I’m a challenger,” Joshua said. “Scrap my belts. I’m challenging for the WBO heavyweight championship of the world. That’s what I’m going for and that’s what my mindset is. I’m hungry. I’m determined. I’m willing to go the distance or I’m willing to take risks and take him out early. I just want to secure that win one way or another.”
This will be just the 11th unification in heavyweight history. Previous winners of unifications include Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko. The last fighter to win a unification between undefeated champions was Mike Tyson in 1987.
“These wins are creating history,” Joshua said. “This type of fight where two champions who are undefeated come together is history. The last person to win was Mike Tyson thirty years ago. If I do win, I haven’t spoken about it much, but providing I do get this win we’re going to set history in late 2018. I’ll become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.”