Joshua’s power should be too much for Parker

Arab News - - SPORTS -

while also speak­ing of be­ing in his finest ever con­di­tion hav­ing had surgery in early De­cem­ber to cor­rect the el­bow in­juries with which he had long been struggling.

Of course, claims of peak con­di­tion are made by all fighters at all lev­els of the sport. Parker — like Joshua, 28 — is a young, fresh and ath­letic heavy­weight, which is largely why their uni­fi­ca­tion fight ap­peals — the re­moval of such a po­ten­tial handicap sug­gests that this can prove true.

That he is look­ing so light, and that his ec­cen­tric pro­moter David Hig­gins last week put pres­sure on the three judges to score their fight fairly, also sug­gests that he ex­pects it to last the full 12 rounds. This is in con­trast to the ap­proach taken by Whyte.

The smaller Whyte fear­lessly met Joshua in the cen­tre of the ring, will­ing to risk his heav­i­est punches to land one of his own and suc­ceed­ing in hurt­ing Joshua to the ex­tent he could have been stopped on his feet be­fore the even­tual sev­enth-round tech­ni­cal knock­out.

Kl­itschko later be­came the first to knock the WBA and IBF cham­pion down, but is both big­ger and rang­ier than Parker. He also pos­sesses the ringcraft and foot­work the New Zealan­der lacks.

Should he there­fore pur­sue a per­haps cagey af­fair — and he will re­gard­less have to im­prove on his dis­play in Septem­ber’s points vic­tory over Hughie Fury — even if he suc­ceeds in de­lay­ing it, that he is in­ca­pable of frus­trat­ing Joshua over the dis­tance means that he risks a near-cer­tain stop­page de­feat.

His finest chance — even against an of­ten one-di­men­sional op­po­nent — comes in re­ly­ing on his youth and fresh­ness. It also re­lies on the speed he has been built to de­liver; to hurt Joshua be­fore the sig­nif­i­cant favourite hurts him, and then to cap­i­talise on the op­por­tu­nity that both Whyte and Kl­itschko missed.

In short, Parker needs to force a true heavy­weight con­fronta­tion, but one thing that has been no­tice­able about him and his team since their ar­rival in the UK, is their con­vic­tion and their be­lief. Be­fore the fight with Fury — whose own cagey ap­proach proved the wrong one — Hig­gins was said to have been drunk at a press con­fer­ence and amid their in­ex­pe­ri­ence in later ne­go­ti­a­tions to fight Joshua, the im­pres­sion de­vel­oped of a group pur­su­ing a lu­cra­tive op­por­tu­nity they had not ex­pected. They have since proven as pro­fes­sional as they are am­bi­tious, en­cour­ag­ing long-term re­la­tion­ships as part of a wider plan.

Ul­ti­mately, the vic­tor on Satur­day evening will pos­sess three of the four world heavy­weight ti­tles. He will there­fore be on course to face WBC cham­pion Deon­tay Wilder for all four in a fight that will prove the world’s rich­est and most sig­nif­i­cant whether it takes place later this year or the next. It will also crown

the first undis­puted cham­pion since the great Len­nox Lewis in 1999.

Should he re­main cagey and pa­tient it is likely Joshua’s power and ag­gres­sion will se­cure a stop­page within six or seven rounds, but even in the event of them

fight­ing toe-to-toe af­ter the cau­tious open­ing that is al­most in­evitable, Joshua is both big­ger, stronger, more proven and more pow­er­ful, and — de­spite his pre­dic­tion of win­ning in­side nine — would be likely to win his third world ti­tle even quicker.

Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker will slug it out in Cardiff on Satur­day for the right to meet Deon­tay Wilder in a heavy­weight uni­fi­ca­tion bout. (AFP)

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