Joshua-Parker: Size Matters…
By Andy Hayes: In one week on the 31st of March, the Heavyweight division gets another chance to prove to the public why it remains the pinnacle of sporting greatness, and more specifically, the peak of the fight game. The 26-year-old New Zealander Joseph Parker puts his 24 fight win streak on the line when he looks to overcome what most people believe improbable. Anthony Joshua however remains quietly confident that this will lead him on to another opponent with his unbeaten record intact.
I must confess, I am highly respectful of the level of professionalism that Parker has maintained throughout the build up to this fight, it actually seems to be Parker’s promoter David Higgins who has built up a very unsteady bridge that is destined to collapse in a weeks time. The Parker camp have openly admitted to making a huge amount of noise prior to the fight being announced, purely as a marketing tactic to get Parker in the position to challenge for Joshua’s belts, however whilst this has been going on Parker’s respect for Joshua remains clear.
Joshua continues his ‘Humble’ persona which quite often seems to act as a great safeguard to the protection of the beast that lays within. However cracks have started appearing as reported recently, the 28 year old from the UK has been accused of ignoring the New Zealand media and claiming the Heavyweight division was ‘dead’ before he arrived. However I can’t help but defend the British Champion, as his rise to fame has become increasingly evident, people from around the globe have made it their mission to knock down any ‘humble’ barriers that Joshua has built up over the years, but hey, this that’s the aim of the game right?
Anyway on to fight night, which will be held in an undoubtedly cold and loud environment, I find the only way to keep warm for both fighters will be to take this fight right to the closing rounds. As soon as the fight was announced I was guilty of falling into the Joshua hype of ‘he will walk through him’ or ‘it will be over in 2’, however upon closer inspection and after tireless hours of watching Parker (and I mean tiring, to the point of boring) I have an overwhelming feeling that this fight comes close to going the distance. I offer no disrespect to the man from down under, in fact I actually think he will be one of Joshua’s toughest fights yet, this is purely due to the size of the two men in the ring, let me explain.
‘AJ’, being the bigger man, will know that if he tries to walk through his challenger, he will leave himself open to getting caught (see Dillian Whyte fight 2015), he will box from distance that’s clear to see. Parker on the other hand walks into this fight, not just the shorter man, but the overwhelming underdog and we know how that can play out. This may be Parker’s biggest and only chance at Championship Boxing euphoria, subject to a certain American whom I’m sure will be watching this fight extremely closely. With that being said, I think Parker has nothing to lose and will try and take this opportunity with both fists, leaving moments in the fight where he really goes after the Brit.
The irony of this whole fight could actually be that Joshua becomes the stiff, robotic type, who would happily work the jab and take his shots at range whilst awaiting the perfect opening. (There’s a lot to be said about the Klitschko brothers technique that allowed them 10 years of boxing supremacy). Whilst Parker gets in Joshua’s face, boxing on the inside and really try’s to unnerve him into doing something stupid.
In summary I see a late stoppage from Joshua, as I do believe he will find an opening, but it will take him a while to break down the New Zealander, however I really wouldn’t be surprised if this went the whole distance.
One last point to make, after the recent Wilder v Ortiz fight I really hope this showdown continues to carry the flag for Heavyweight Boxing, as it has at long last started to rejuvenate itself back into the public’s hearts. And roll on July, whereby we will likely see Joshua back in the ring against American hard hitter Jarrell Miller or Dillian Whyte, Wilder calling out everyone, and the return of a certain…’Mack’.