The biggest boxing match thus far in 2018 is just days away, as Anthony Joshua unifies world heavyweight belts with Joseph Parker on March 31st.
On the final day of March, the WBA, WBO, and IBF world heavyweight titles will be at stake at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. British superstar Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) has the WBA and IBF belts, while New Zealand’s Joseph Parker is the WBO champion. Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) holds the WBC title, and the fight many want to see is Joshua vs. Wilder to determine a true, undisputed champion.
It is not often that you have an interesting, high-level heavyweight championship contest involving young fighters. That doubles for both boxing and MMA, and you’d have to go back to Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos I in November 2011 for the last time the UFC belt was contested between two guys under 30 years old.
Joshua is no doubt one of the top stars in boxing right now, with potential to grab hold of the #1 spot very soon. Another 75,000+ are expected to attend this Saturday’s show, which amounts to about 240,000 fans watching him in-person over the last three bouts. He passed his biggest test by winning last April’s epic with Wladimir Klitschko, then got the expected TKO of short-notice replacement Carlos Takam in October. Before we can even entertain the idea of Joshua against Wilder, he first needs to get by Parker.
The 26-year-old Parker only turned pro in 2012, just one year before Joshua, and has spent much of his career in his native New Zealand. One of his wins on his way towards a title shot came against Takam, and on December 10th, 2016, he won the vacant WBO title by majority decision over Andy Ruiz, giving New Zealand its first ever heavyweight champion. His last two outings have been rather lackluster, as he went the distance vs. unheralded Răzvan Cojanu, then won a somewhat controversial (and very ugly) majority decision against Hughie Fury last September. Parker made roughly $1.5 million for the Fury fight, and he’s expected to make at least six times that amount against Joshua.
As you may expect, Joshua is a hefty favorite, but that doesn’t mean Parker is a pushover, and hopefully he performs better than he has in his recent bouts. Sky Box Office will have the pay-per-view in the UK, whereas fans in the United States can catch this showdown on Showtime, starting at 5 PM ET/2 PM PT. Only the main event will be shown for US viewers, so please keep that in mind.
Bloody Elbow will have full fight week coverage, including previews, predictions, odds, play-by-play, results, analysis, post-fight highlights, and more.
Full fight card:
Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker – 12 rounds, heavyweights
Alexander Povetkin vs David Price – 12 rounds, heavyweights
Ryan Burnett vs Yonfrez Parejo – 12 rounds, bantamweights
Joe Cordina vs Hakim Ben Ali – 10 rounds, lightweights
Josh Kelly vs Carlos Molina – 10 rounds, lightweights
Morgan Jones vs Mose Auimatagi Jr – 6 rounds, super middleweights