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Parker sparring Tony Yoka; Joshua using Marlo Moore

Anthony Joshua Joseph Parker

By Tim Royner: WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) seems to have won the battle in getting the best sparring partner in 2016 super heavyweight Olympic gold medalist Tony Yoka, whereas Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) is using American Marlo Moore as his sparring partner. Moore, 27, failed to make the U.S 2016 Olympic team.

The 6’7” Yoka is 3-0 since turning pro in June of 2017. Yoka is an inch taller than the 6’6” Joshua, but the two fighters are completely different. Yoka is more mobile, and more of a boxer compared to the 28-year-old Joshua, who doesn’t well around the ring due to his muscles. Yoka is leaner than Joshua at 238 lbs., and he’s not a massive puncher. For Parker to get anything out of the sparring sessions with France’s Yoka, he’s going to need to make sure he mimics Joshua’s style as much as possible.

Both Yoka and Moore train with Virgil Hunter out of his gym in Hayward, California in the Bay Area.

“Yes, in two or three weeks to prepare him for his championship [fight] against Joshua,” Yoka said to Sky Sports News about him sparring with Joseph Parker. ”My team-mate in the gym, Marlo Moore, went to Joshua’s training camp in Sheffield. I’m going to the other side.”

Joshua won an Olympic gold medal in the 2012 Olympics in London.

Since turning pro, Ton Yoka has victories over Ali Baghouz, Jonathan Rice and Travis Clark. Rice (7-3) appeared to hurt Yoka on one occasion during their fight last October. Yoka won by a 6 round unanimous decision, but it was a much harder fight than many people in the boxing world expected it to be.

Yoka had a couple of close calls in winning a 2016 Olympic super heavyweight gold medal in Rios de Janeiro, Brazil. Yoka barely beat Joe Joyce of Great Britain by a 2-1 score and Filip Hrgovic of Croatia by a 2-1 decision. Yoka’s wins weren’t controversial like Joshua’s victories over Erislandy Savon and Roberto Cammarelle. Both of those fights could have gone the other way to Cammarelle and Savon.

Marlo Moore (1-0, 1 KOs) has fought just once since turning pro last year in November. Moore defeated journeyman Oswaldo Ortega (3-6) by a 3rd round knockout on November 18 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Joshua and Parker will be fighting next month on Sky Box Office PPV on March 31 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. The stadium is sold out with 80,000 boxing fans to be turning up on the 31st of March. Joshua will have his IBF/WBA heavyweight titles on the line for the unification fight. Parker will be putting up his WBO belt.

The winner of the Joshua-Parker fight will hold 3 of the 4 heavyweight titles in the division. The next target for the winner will be WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder. If Parker wins, he’ll likely face Joshua in a rematch before moving on to the Wilder fight. If Joshua is victorious on March 31, it’s anyone’s guess which fighter he’ll face next. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has talked of wanting to match him against Jarrell Miller, Alexander Povetkin or Tyson Fury net.

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