Eleven months after his showdown with Vladimir Klitschko, British heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua faces New Zealand’s Joseph Parker in a world title unification clash in Cardiff on Saturday night.Joshua, the 28-year-old WBA, IBF and IBO title holder, weighed in at 109.7 kilograms (240 pounds) on Friday, almost six kilograms lighter than his career heaviest (115kg) but 2.7kg heavier than WBO champion Parker.
“I’ve been running well, training well, it’s been difficult in camp but I feel better losing that extra weight,” the British fighter said.
“I’ll be a lot lighter and a lot sharper with my reactions so you’ll be in for a good fight,” he promised, revealing what he’s learnt since his victory over Klitschko last year:
“The Klitschko fight taught me that it takes more than one person to stop me in my tracks. I’m hungry, despite all the belts I’ve won.”
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His opponent in front of a sell-out 80,000-crowd in the Principality Stadium in the Welsh capital, 26-year-old Parker, is undefeated in 24 contests with 18 knockouts. But Joshua believes he has found the right tactics to end that run.
“Someone asked me, if I get Parker hurt, will I go in and execute?” said Joshua. “But I’m trying to be a sniper. That’s my mindset now.
“I’m dealing with a guy who has his whole country on his back and that obviously gives him a little bit of fuel as well. He’s a man of pride.
“But, no matter about all these positive things I say about him, my job is to knock one off the list as each round goes on and just break him down.
“When he goes back to his corner in round one, I want him to realize his trainer lied to him. I want him to realize he’s in with a real fighter and I know 100 per cent I will break his spirit and mentality.”
Parker, who hails from Auckland and is of Samoan descent, became New Zealand’s first ever heavyweight champion after winning the WBO belt against Andy Ruiz in December 2016, and he’s left extra room in his luggage for the return journey.
“I’m young, I’m fresh, I’m strong and I’m determined to win,” he said at Tuesday’s final press conference in London. “I’m taking all those belts back to New Zealand.”