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Parker: I can do a lot of damage to Joshua

By Scott Gilfoid: Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) says he can do a lot of damage to Anthony Joshua in March 31 heavyweight unification fight at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Parker’s team has seen signs that Joshua, 28, has a ‘glass chin’ with the way he’s been hurt recently in fights against Carlos Takam, Wladimir Klitschko and Dillian Whyte.

Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn don’t believe there’s a chin problem. If Parker is right about Joshua having an issue when it comes to taking return fire, we could see a new IBF/WBA heavyweight champion on March 31.

The heavyweight unification fight between Joshua and Parker is now a done deal for March 31. The fight will be televised on Sky Sports Box Office PPV in the UK, and likely Showtime Boxing in the U.S. Parker, 26, will have his WBO heavyweight title on the line for the fight, and Joshua his IBF and WBA straps. Like usual, Joshua will be fighting in front of his home fans in the UK. Since turning pro, Joshua has been fighting exclusively in the UK rather than traveling outside of the country to fight in his opponent’s home territory or fighting in neutral venues.

It’s unclear whether Joshua will ever fight outside of the UK during his career. He might not ever have to fight on foreign soil unless he starts losing repeatedly. Even then, Joshua might not have to fight outside of the UK. If his large fan base continues to come see him fight, he can probably have all of his fights staged in the UK.

“We’re here for business,” Parker said to Sky Sports News. “It’s finally done now. I can do a lot of damage. I feel like it’s my time.”

Parker has the punching power to hurt Joshua and put him down for the count. More importantly, Parker has the courage and the intelligence to know that if he knocks Joshua down, he’ll look to finish him off rather than letting him survive and hoping to win a 12 round decision. We saw Wladimir Klitschko let Joshua off the hook last April after knocking him down in round 6. At the time, Wladimir thought it would be an innovative idea to let Joshua hang around, because he thought he could take him the full 12 round distance and win a decision. It’s unclear whether Wladimir ignored his trainer’s advice or what. The fight was in London, England, and not in Germany where Wladimir normally had been fighting.

Assuming that he could win a decision on foreign soil was obviously a blunder on Wladimir’s part. Parker doesn’t need to be told what to do if he gets Joshua hurt. He’s going to be in automatic mode at that point in looking to finish the 6’5”, 254 pound Joshua off. Parker is a natural finisher in his fights. If Parker gets a guy hurt, he doesn’t need to have his trainer tell him that he needs to try and finish him off. Parker’s killer instinct is already hard-wired into his brain. He won’t decide at the crucial moment that it’s a good idea to let Joshua go the full 12 round distance the way Wladimir did.

Parker isn’t worried about having to fight in front of Joshua’s boxing fans at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on March 31. Parker plans on taking the fans out of the equation by going after Joshua and looking to KO him as fast as possible. The guys that have lost to Joshua have fought in a passive manner by retreating to the ropes, and covering up like good sparring partners. There’s been a sparring type of mentality for many of the guys that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has put inside the ring with him during his career.

The reality is that Joshua has only fought 2 decent opponents during his career in Wladimir and Carlos Takam. The rest of them were fighters with many flaws to their game. They made it easy on Joshua by not coming out fast throwing punches to keep him off of him. You look back at the guys that seemingly got the better of Joshua in the 2012 London Olympics, they all attacked Joshua and forced him to defend and expend energy. Joshua struggled in the Olympics against Roberto Cammarelle, Erislandy Savon and Ivan Dychko. The one constant in all of those fights was the aggression that those guys showed against Joshua. They didn’t run to the ropes and cringe like many of Joshua’s opponents have since he turned pro. They didn’t hesitate to let their hands go.

In Joshua’s 3rd round knockout loss to Romanian Mihai Nistor in the 2011 European Championships, he was dealing with incredible pressure from the big punching southpaw from the word go. The pressure eventually had Joshua staggering in the 3rd. The referee had to stop the fight to save Joshua from being put down. The left hands that Nistor was nailing Joshua with were devastating. Every punch Nistor threw had knockout intentions on them. Joshua was exhausted as well as hurt by the time the fight was halted. That fight showed how you beat Joshua. You’ve got to attack him hard and load up with every punch you throw, because Joshua seems to panic and use up energy quickly when he’s attacked hard. Joshua gets stressed out and he empties his batteries right away. The way that Joshua was gassed out in the Nistor fight was the exact same way that he was exhausted in the 2nd round of his fight with Whyte and the 6th round in his match with Wladimir. Nistor created the blueprint in how to beat Joshua. You take the fight to him and make him expend energy by nailing him with the hardest shots possible. Joshua’s poor stamina then betrays him right away with him gassing out. When Joshua lost to Nistor, he was in the mid-220s. It didn’t matter that Joshua was lighter than he is now. He still got tired. That means if Parker takes the fight to Joshua the same way Nistor did, he could have him finished by the 3rd round if he attacks him in a relentless manner.

“He thinks it’s his time, so it’s just about who trains hardest, who wants it more and we’re both going to put our undefeated records on the line. I’m not scared of AJ,” said Parker.

It’s not about who trains the hardest. It’s about whether Parker fights the way he needs to fight for him to beat Joshua. Even if Parker is in the normal shape he’s in and not necessarily in peak condition, he can beat Joshua if he’s willing to go all out for 3 rounds straight. Look at Nistor. He looked flabby and soft in his fight with Joshua, and yet he still had him staggering in the 3rd round. Nistor didn’t look like he was in the greatest shape, but he still stopped Joshua.

Joshua will be coming into the Parker fight with 20 straight knockouts. Only 2 of those wins have come against good fighters though. Joshua’s other knockout wins have come against fringe level fighters like Charles Martin, Michael Sprott, Eric Molina, Dominic Breazeale, and Dillian Whyte. Parker has a lot of knockout wins against poor opposition as well. Parker’s best win was his close 12 round decision win over Andy Ruiz Jr.

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