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Joshua vs. Parker could be finalized this week

Anthony Joshua Joseph Parker

By Marcus Richardson: The unification fight between IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and WBO champion Joseph Parker could be done this week. Parker, 25, says they’re close to having the Joshua fight done for early 2018.

Parker’s promoters at Duco Events and Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport have been in a stalemate recently over the purse split. Parker’s side wants a 65-35 cut of the venue, whereas Hearn was looking for a 70-30 split favoring Joshua. Fortunately, the difference between the two is close enough for the fight to potentially get done.

“The fight with Joshua is very close,” Parker said to T2T Boxing. “We’ve had a bit of a pause as we find middle ground where both teams are happy, but I think we’ve come to a conclusion. We’re just going to tidy things up, lock it in and get the fight going. We want to lock something in before Christmas, so we can all have a holiday and enjoy it and then hit camp.”

Joshua, 28, wants to win Parker’s WBO title, and then go after WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder to collect the last remaining major title in the division. If Joshua accomplishes his goal of having all 4 heavyweight titles in his possession, his next move will involve him establishing his legacy by fighting the best heavyweights in the division. That’s where the demanding work will start. Joshua will need to fight the best while at the same time make annual defenses against his mandatory challengers for the 4 titles. Wladimir Klitschko was stymied by constant title defenses he was required to make while holding down 3 of the 4 heavyweight titles during his long reign as a champion. The mandatory defenses are a real nuisance for champions, as many of the fights involve contenders that have done little to deserve the mandatory spot.

Parker will be a step up for Joshua from his last fight against replacement opponent Carlos Takam on October 28. Takam was substituted to replace the injured Kubrat Pulev on 3 weeks’ notice.
If the Joshua-Parker fight doesn’t get made, WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin is likely option for Joshua. Povetkin recently beat Christian Hammer by a 12 round unanimous decision in their World Boxing Association eliminator to become the WBA mandatory challenger to Joshua. There’s good money for Joshua to fight the 6’2”, 223-pound Povetkin. It would be an enormous size and youth mismatch for the 6’5”, 254 lb. Joshua over the small, older 38-year-old Povetkin. Up until recently, Povetkin had been looking dominant in knocking guys out and looking impressive. But in Povetkin’s last 2 fights against Hammer and Andriy Rudenko, his power has abandoned him, and he’s not looked like the same fighter that he was in the past.

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