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Joshua – Parker: Sky Sports Box Office to show Joshua’s first fight of 2018

Anthony Joshua MBE will return to Sky Sports Box Office in a unification blockbuster fight against the unbeaten Joseph Parker on 31 March.

Sky Sports Box Office will televise the hotly anticipated Joshua v Parker unification fight that will see Anthony Joshua step into the ring for the first time in 2018 in defence of his world heavyweight titles. The WBA ‘super’ and IBF heavyweight champion Joshua, will be looking to add heavyweight champion Joseph Parker’s WBO belt to his collection, with both fighters battling to maintain their unbeaten run.

The Sky Ambassador will return to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday 31 March for the unification fight, having won his last defence in the same venue in October against Carlos Takam, after a 10th-round stoppage.

This will be Joshua’s second defence of the WBA belt he clinched by knocking out Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium, whilst Parker will be launching his third defence of the WBO belt. The fight has the makings of a stellar contest: both fighters boast unbeaten records, Joshua’s 20 victories all by knockout, and the New Zealander has 18 stoppages from his 24 wins.

Barney Francis, Sky Sports Managing Director, commented: “Last year was the vindication of our belief in Anthony Joshua when we first started this journey together in 2013. We knew he could be the best heavyweight in the world, and last year the world saw that is the case. 2018 promises to get even better for Anthony, with a unification fight to kick things off. More excitement is guaranteed.”

Eddie Hearn, MD of Matchroom Sports, added: “I’m delighted to get this fight made – it’s been a long time coming. Champions should fight Champions and AJ continues to step up to the challenges.

“It’s the first time in history that two reigning heavyweight World champions have met in Britain and it’s a classic match-up between two young, fast, undefeated belt holders and it’s going to be an explosive fight. This is another huge unification fight for Anthony as he continues to make history in the quest to become undisputed World heavyweight champion.”

Sky Sports Head of Boxing, Adam Smith, said: “We are starting 2018 with a bang on Sky Sports Box Office – there is no doubt that this will be an unmissable fight, with two unbeaten fighters, multiple heavyweight belts on the line and a battle to maintain their winning streak. It is absolutely the right fight at the right time for Joshua, it is what the fans want but also what he needs to cement the ‘AJ era’. Parker is a tough opponent with all the tools to cause an upset, but can he put a stop to Anthony Joshua and dent his legacy?”

Ahead of the bout, Sky Sports viewers will be able to enjoy a range of support programming across both TV channels and digital platforms, in addition to all the pre-fight build up from behind the scenes.

This fight is part of what will be another stellar year of boxing on Sky Sports. 2017 saw Joshua crowned the unified heavyweight champion of the world after defeating Wladimir Klitschko and then defend the title against Carlos Takam, alongside the record-breaking Mayweather v McGregor showcase. This year Sky Sports Boxing will bring customers more drama, twists and turns, with Joshua in Cardiff in March, Amir Khan returning to Sky Sports on 21 April, the long awaited Bellew v Haye rematch on Saturday 5 May, as well as action from Katie Taylor and Kell Brook.

The fight will also be made available to purchase for non-Sky TV customers, via the newly launched Sky Sports Box Office streaming service. Sky Sports’ partnership with NeuLion will provide the service via the NOW TV box, as well as PC, mobile and tablet devices.

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