JOSEPH PARKER does not have a physique to match Anthony Joshua. But going into their March 31 heavyweight unification clash, the New Zealander insists he is in the kind of condition where he can put his speed and movement to work.
“I’m also excited to see some abs come along, which is a very good sign. I’m excited to be here. It’s a challenge fighting another undefeated fighter who I respect a lot, I respect his power and what he’s achieved in boxing, what their team’s achieved on this side of the world. I’m ready for the challenge,” Parker said. “This is the best camp we’ve had in a long time and that’s why we’re so confident, confident in what we can achieve. We know we’re going to come here and put on a great display and put on a great fight.
“I love pies in my off season. This camp – there have been no pies.”
In fact, Parker is planning on coming in lighter when they hit the scales a week today. “I’m going to be a lot lighter. The last fight we were 112kgs. This fight 108kgs,” he said. “Faster, stronger, better movement. I’ll show you March 31.”
Joshua too is expected to weigh in slightly trimmer than his last outing and that prompted some criticism from Parker, the WBO champion. “If he trusted in his body, then he wouldn’t be trying to change who he is. He’s trying to be leaner, trying to be faster, better movement. I don’t know if he’s trying to be him or me,” the New Zealander said.
He also warned Joshua not to dwell on the possibility of fighting America’s WBC champion Deontay Wilder. “The public have their opinion on the fights they want to see,” Parker said. “But he’s got to be careful because there’s one person in his way.
“He should be focused on March 31. We’ve come prepared. He should be focused on myself, he should be focused on my team, he should be focused on what’s going to happen in the ring.”
Surprisingly the WBO titlist takes heart from Joshua’s greatest triumph, his victory over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley stadium. He plays that fight in the gym every day when he’s training. “We can see with the movement, there’s a lot of things that we saw in that fight that we know we can do better and we know that we can catch AJ with,” Parker reckons.
Despite revealing having surgery on his elbows, the New Zealander insists he’ll be firing on all cylinders for this next fight. “There’s going to be a lot of jabs and hopefully they land in the right place, the nose, the head, the chin,” he said.
“I’m not nervous. I’m ready,” Parker continued. “We’re here to take this belt back to New Zealand.
“We’re very happy to be here but we’re also very excited at the challenger of fighting here in his back yard in front of 80,000. We haven’t experienced that before in our career, we’ve experienced that on a lesser scale, 20,000. The challenge of fighting in front of 80,000 people for us is exciting because we haven’t experienced that before. We’re going to embrace it.”