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Parker ready for Joshua fight on Saturday

Anthony Joshua Joseph Parker Joshua vs. Parker

By Scott Gilfoid: Joseph Parker is physically 100 percent for his unification fight this Saturday night against Anthony Joshua at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Parker’s sparring partner Malik Scott even says he’s 120 percent when it comes to his punching power.

Joshua has a chin problem, so even Parker at least than 100 percent could pose a big problem for him with his shots if he can land enough of them, and the stamina-plagued AJ into the later rounds where he tends to gas out.

Parker recently had surgery on both of his elbows, and he’s now completely healed and able to punch with his old power and speed. That’s bad news for Joshua, because the last time he fought someone with power, he was on the canvas against Wladimir Klitschko and looking ready to be knocked out. Parker says he’s not going to show mercy on Joshua if he gets him in a similar position on Saturday night.

If the 28-year-old Joshua finds himself on the canvas at any point in the fight, Parker is going to look to finish the job in royal fashion and not leave him out there like Wladimir did hoping to win a decision. Wladimir seemed to forget where he was fighting. It was an insane idea that Wladimir had thinking he could win a decision.

IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Joshua, 28, has lost some weight for this fight, but his stamina problems have occurred even when he was in the 240s, which is where he’s expected to be on Saturday night when he faces unbeaten WBO champion Parker (24-0, 18 KOs).

”A totally different power now. I will say the last time it was like 70 per cent to me. Right now it’s at 120,” Malik Scott said to about Parker’s punching power. “When he was getting ready for (Hughie) Fury, there was times in sparring where we were having to stop,” Scott said.

Scott says Parker has a lot more speed than he did a year ago following his surgery. That’s good for Parker. Speed, power and work rate is what the doctor ordered for Parker to beat Joshua on Saturday. Of course, that doesn’t mean Parker will win the fight.

To beat Joshua, you’ve got to go after him the way Wladimir Klitschko, Erislandy Savon, Roberto Cammarelle and Dillian Whyte did. Cammarelle had the best game plan to beat Joshua by attacking him nonstop in the 2012 Olympics. Cammarelle clearly beat Joshua, but found himself on the receiving end of a controversial decision in that fight, which just happened to take place in London, England. Most boxing fans saw it as a clear win for Cammarelle. All he did was throw nonstop shots that had Joshua under fire and looking tired. I had Cammarelle winning every round of that fight. The scoring was atrocious. Parker needs to follow the Cammarelle blueprint by going to war with Joshua, and not letting up on his shots. Cammarelle got the better of Joshua in two fights during his amateur career, although he wasn’t given the win in either of those fights. The scoring for fights in the amateurs needs a lot of work before it catches up to the pros in my view. Despite losing two controversial decisions to Joshua, Cammarelle had the right idea in how to beat him. All he did was attack Joshua nonstop, and he had him tired, gassing out and looking weak.

I don’t think Parker would have knocked Hughie Fury out even if he was 200 percent. Hughie was running all around the ring all night long, and putting in the worst spoiling performance I’ve ever seen before from a challenger. It’s a miracle that the referee working the fight didn’t disqualify Hughie at some point, because you can argue that the fight should have been stopped by the 5th round due to the spoiling by Fury.

The key to Parker beating Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) is to not run from him like Wladimir did. That doesn’t work. Wladimir was just wasting time when he was running around the ring. When Wladimir finally stopped running in the 5th, he had Joshua hurt with some big shots that he landed. In the 6th, Wladimir dropped Joshua, who was totally gassed out. What we learned from that fight is Joshua falls apart when you stand your ground and unload on him with power shots. Joshua reminds me in some ways to a big bully, who is at his best when his opponents are fearful of him and running around the ring. Joshua looks gleeful when he’s facing a runner or someone that is afraid to throw punches. But when Joshua is met with adversity like he did in the 2nd round against Dillian Whyte and in the 5th and 6th against Wladimir, he falls apart mentally and physically. That’s why it’s a waste of time for Parker to use any kind of movement on Saturday night.

What Parker should do is meet Joshua in the center of the ring at the first minute of round 1, and unload everything he has in his toolbox at that time. Parker needs to throw nonstop punches until either he or Joshua goes down. Joshua will tense up quickly under fire and gas out. Once Joshua is tired, it’s all over. Parker will knock him out straightaway. That would be my game plan for Parker. He shouldn’t waste time running from Joshua and tiring himself out the way Wladimir and countless other opponents have done. Parker needs to go right at him and use his superior stamina, speed and work rate to force Joshua into an all-out war from the opening seconds of the fight until the bitter end.

The thing about Joshua is he loses his punching power right away when he’s forced to throw a lot of shots with power. Joshua doesn’t even need to throw a lot of punches for him to gas out. He gasses out just from stress from having someone throw a lot of punches at him. Look at Joshua’s fight with Whyte in 2015. Joshua didn’t throw a lot of shots in the 2nd round, and yet still gassed out. The reason for that is because he had someone nailing him with punches, and he was fighting for survival. The stress hormones kicked in for Joshua, causing lactic acid build-up in his muscles and that caused him to gas out badly. Joshua stayed tired from rounds 3 to 6 in that fight. If Whyte had better conditioning and if he didn’t hurt left shoulder, he would have knocked him out.

“I don’t think that the elbow, the shoulder, none of that is an issue right now,” Scott said of Parker.

If Parker, 26, has his old punching power back that he was displaying earlier in his pro career, then it could end badly for Joshua if he uses that power. Parker was knocking guys out left and right when he turned pro. His power was devastating. Somewhere along the lines, Parker became more of a boxer, and that’s where he started to struggle in barely beating Carlos Takam and Andy Ruiz. Those were fights that Parker could have won easily if he’d used his punching power against those guys. What’s unclear is whether Parker had elbow problems as far back as 2016, which is when he fought Takam and Ruiz.

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