By Marc Livitz: Admiration and recognition can be powerful sources of motivation, but above all, respect is what most championship fighters are seeking. There may indeed come a day when the number of weight classes in boxing are actually eclipsed by the amount of sanctioning bodies in play with their respective world titles in tow. Over the past few years, the heavyweight division has gracefully moved on from the dominance of the Klitschko brothers and has opened itself to newer names such as current IBF and WBA champion Anthony Joshua and WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder.
Through no true fault of his own and very much on the outside looking inward is WBO titlist Joseph Parker. So much of the boxing world is clamoring to see a showdown between Joshua and Wilder, though we may have to wait a while to see it. This is not only to allow the prospective match to build itself up, but also to be a true unification bout, in which the winner really and truly takes it all. Of course, none of this happens anytime soon if Joseph Parker can do what he expects to do on Saturday, March 31 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
The unbeaten New Zealand native is set to face off with Anthony Joshua a week from this coming Saturday and he’s primed as well as focused on showing the public that he’s no stepping stone. Parker (24-0, 18 KO’s) lives and trains in Las Vegas alongside trainer Kevin Barry. The heavyweight championship clash between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker will be televised in the United States on the Showtime network on Saturday, March 31 (5PM
PT). From his temporary base camp in London, Parker and Barry fielded questions from the media on Wednesday afternoon as part of an international conference call.
Selected Highlights Listed Below
Stephen Espinoza, Showtime Sports: “Showtime continues to lead the boxing industry here in the U.S by delivering the best fights. In the month of March alone, all four of the heavyweight titles are at stake and on Showtime. We’re glad to be doing our part to
re-invigorate the heavyweight division. American audiences have gotten to know Anthony Joshua and now, we’d like them to do the same with Joseph Parker.”
Kevin Barry, Opening Statements: “We hit the ground running on Monday. We’ve been doing our roadwork every morning along with 16-18 rounds of sparring. The jet lag is dying down and we’re ready to have our feet planted on the ground next week.”
Joseph Parker, Opening Statements: “It’s been a great training camp in Las Vegas and now we’re here in London. I’m looking forward to fighting an undefeated champion like Anthony Joshua, for whom I have great respect. We’re really excited to be here and it’s going to be a great opportunity for us.”
Parker on Joshua’s Bout with Wladimir Klitschko: “I think staying active has worked well for us. He did very well by getting up on the canvas. We know how to finish off a fight and we’ll put him under pressure. He has strengths and weaknesses like every other fighter.”
Barry’s Take on the same: “This is the biggest fight of Joe’s life, but I also think it’s the same for Anthony Joshua. But this is a much better version of Joshua than when he fought Klitschko.
Parker on him standing in the way of an Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder bout: “It doesn’t bother me because everyone’s entitled to their opinion and the fights they want to see. Right now, my focus is on Anthony Joshua. They can’t see it now because we’re in the way. It gives us motivation in our training.”
Joseph’s thoughts on the bout on March 31st: “A match like this is a very big deal. As fans of boxing and as fighters as well, it’s great to see bouts like this. I remember a while back talking to my trainer and telling him how much I’d like to fight Anthony Joshua.”
“The fans haven’t seen a lot of me and they haven’t seen the best of me, which is why we’re ready to put on our best performance. I’m going to bring a lot of movement, speed and power.”
Barry on Parker’s fighting weight: “Joe’s still a very young heavyweight. Last year, we put about 4 kilos of weight on him and it didn’t work the way we’d hoped. We thought that his hands would be faster if he was a lighter and more mobile fighter.”
Joseph on what a win would mean to him: “It would mean the world to me and not just for myself. There’s a lot of people who got me to this stage.”
“I’m a proud Samoan. I have a strong background, though I was born in New Zealand. When I go out there and fight, I am representing. This would be a very big deal of us to get a win.”
Barry on Anthony Joshua’s October 2017 bout with Carlos Tikam: “In Joshua’s bout with Carlos Tikam, he didn’t set the world on fire that night. It wasn’t as though Tikam was just riding a bike around because he had three months to prepare.”
Parker’s Thoughts on the same: “It wasn’t his best night but he did what he had to do to get the victory and that’s the reason we were able to make this big fight happen.”
On his advantages: “I’ve been twelve rounds before, so I’m durable. We’ve worked a lot on proven angles and speed, which is what we’ll put on display on fight night. We have speed, power and very good movement. He’s got a good chin and he’s been hit flush a few times.”
Barry’s take: “Speed is the key thing. I also believe that of all of the heavyweight champions, Joe has the better skill. I think he’s more complete than Joshua and when we put it all together, it’s going to be a great combination.”