15 Jan 2018

Parker, Joshua confirm Cardiff cliffhanger

5:51 am on 15 January 2018

The heavyweight unification bout between New Zealand's Joseph Parker and Britain's Anthony Joshua has been confirmed with the world champions to go toe to toe at Cardiff's Principality Stadium on March 31st.

Joseph Parker.

Joseph Parker. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The world champions have agreed to put their IBF, WBA, IBO and WBO belts and unbeaten records on the line.

The fight had been on the cards for some time but official confirmation of the bout was announced overnight, concluding weeks of fractious negotiations between the two sides.

British boxer Anthony Joshua.

British boxer Anthony Joshua. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Joshua will put his WBA and IBF titles on the line against New Zealander Parker, who has held the WBO version of the title since December 2016.

"It is a unification heavyweight championship fight," Joshua said.

"We all know what happened last time I was in a unification heavyweight championship fight - it was gruelling, it was interesting and we both left the ring with masses of respect.

"These fights aren't easy because there is a lot on the line, so respect to team Parker for taking the challenge. I am looking forward to it, training camp is under way and before you know it March 31 will be upon us."

Joshua unified the WBA and IBF titles with his famous win over Wladimir Klitschko last April, before subsequently battling out a late stoppage win over Carlos Takam in Cardiff in October.

The 26-year-old Parker had made his UK debut one month previously, when he earned an underwhelming majority points verdict over challenger Hughie Fury at the Manchester Arena.

"Anthony Joshua is in for a huge shock," Parker said.

"A couple of months ago I heard him say 'why should I be worried about this little kid from New Zealand'?

"Well, now he's about to find out. And the world is about to find out whether AJ can really take a punch. My entire existence is now devoted to proving what the boxing world already knows."