9 Mar 2018

Parker confident in face-to-face with Joshua

1:22 pm on 9 March 2018

The signs continue to suggest champion New Zealand boxer Joseph Parker is not daunted by his looming world heavyweight title unification bout with British counterpart Anthony Joshua.

Joseph Parker, right, and Anthony Joshua are set to meet in a world heavyweight unification bout in Cardiff.

Joseph Parker, right, and Anthony Joshua are set to meet in a world heavyweight unification bout in Cardiff. Photo: Photosport

In a TV interview that will be aired in the UK this weekend, WBO title holder Parker shows plenty of poise in what is a close quarters face-off with WBA and IBF champion Joshua.

The leaked footage of 'The Gloves Are Off' episode, hosted by British boxing pundit and former British cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson and filmed the day after the Easter Sunday fight was announced in London in January, has the fighters seated well within arms length of each other.

But the close proximity doesn't appear to bother Parker and when asked by Nelson how he sees the fight going down, the 26-year-old from south Auckland delivers a composed and confident response.

"The fight will be a very exciting fight because I'm prepared, I'm going to come ready, I'm going to be in the best shape and I'm sure you'll do the same.

"You say you are going to punish me, it's not going to happen because I'm going to chase you around ... you come at me with your power, I'll give it back."

A superstar on the booming British boxing scene and very much used to the spotlight, Joshua also doesn't shy away from strong statements in the interview.

Especially when Nelson brings up the approach taken by Parker and his team in securing the highly-anticipated bout.

Led by the New Zealand fighter's promoter David Higgins, the Parker camp publicly accused Joshua of having a glass jaw and questioned his mental strength on numerous occasions.

It was a tactic which did not go down well with the Englishman but when asked how it felt to be sitting face-to-face with Parker having being called out so strongly, Joshua felt that had become irrelevant.

"This is different though. Fighting ... it's going to be straight blood, last ounce of energy because there's two fighters that don't want to give in, so that's the fighting terms.

"In terms of securing the fight, he says what he says and does what he has to do. In terms of this, it's new and I think, as I said, I respect the family side because I'm a family man, I respect that all day.

"But this is the time to let the world know who you are, how great you are and it doesn't matter what he said about me, I just think you have to tell the world that you are the best because they are listening and this is history now.

"I'll punish him anyway, it's not about what his promoter said, I'm going to have to punish him anyway, it's the punishing game."

Parker and Joshua also show no hesitation in engaging without Nelson's involvement, the Brit in particular happy to interrupt his rival on more than one occasion and Parker happy to fire back.

The half-hour interview is sure to add to what is already a significant amount of hype around what is the first meeting of two undefeated heavyweight champions since 1987.

Parker is currently in camp with trainer Kevin Barry at their Las Vegas base, with the pair scheduled to arrive in London two weeks before the fight to be staged in front of a capacity crowd of 80,000 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.