Anthony Joshua wants to add another world title triumph to his legacy when he battles Joseph Parker in a heavyweight unification clash in Cardiff on March 31, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Joshua puts his WBA ‘super’ and IBF belts at stake against WBO title holder Parker as two unbeaten champions collide at the Principality Stadium following weeks of intense negotiations.
After 20 straight victories, all by knockout, Joshua hopes to take another step towards becoming the undisputed world heavyweight champion.
“I like to fight, that’s the main objective, and it’s showing I’m never shy of a competition,” said Joshua, who is a Sky Ambassador.
“He’s a respectable competitor, he is the WBO heavyweight champion of the world, so it’s like one step closer to adding a strap to my legacy. That’s what makes it exciting.”
Parker has vowed to rip away Joshua’s two world titles by racking up his 25th straight victory.
“Anthony Joshua is in for a huge shock,” Parker said. “A couple of months ago I heard him say ‘why should I be worried about this little kid from New Zealand’?
“Well, now he’s about to find out. The world is about to find out whether AJ can really take a punch. My entire existence is now devoted to proving what the boxing world already knows.”
Joshua returns to the scene of his most recent world title defence, a 10th-round stoppage victory over Carlos Takam in front of a massive attendance at the Principality Stadium in October.
“I’m delighted to get this fight made – it’s been a long time coming,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn. “Champions should fight champions and AJ continues to step up to the challenges.
“It’s the first time in history that two reigning heavyweight world champions have met in Britain. It’s a classic match-up between two young, fast, undefeated belt holders and it’s going to be an explosive fight.
“This is another huge unification fight for Anthony as he continues to make history in the quest to become undisputed world heavyweight champion.”
Parker’s promoter David Higgins has predicted that his fighter will ruin the perfect record of the home favourite.
“Joseph Parker is the absolute epitome of the Kiwi sporting battler,” said Higgins. “It has been said that he is punching above his weight, but he didn’t become WBO heavyweight champion by being lucky.
“He’s never been stopped, never even been wobbled in the ring. He’s consistently fought fighters in the world’s top 10 and he’s beaten them all easily. It certainly won’t be a shock to me when he beats Anthony Joshua and takes his titles back home to New Zealand.”
Barney Francis, Sky Sports Managing Director, commented: “Last year was the vindication of our belief in Anthony Joshua when we first started this journey together in 2013. We knew he could be the best heavyweight in the world, and last year the world saw that is the case. 2018 promises to get even better for Anthony, with a unification fight to kick things off. More excitement is guaranteed.”
Sky Sports Head of Boxing, Adam Smith, said: “We are starting 2018 with a bang on Sky Sports Box Office – there is no doubt that this will be an unmissable fight, with two unbeaten fighters, multiple heavyweight belts on the line and a battle to maintain their winning streak. It is absolutely the right fight at the right time for Joshua, it is what the fans want but also what he needs to cement the ‘AJ era’. Parker is a tough opponent with all the tools to cause an upset, but can he put a stop to Anthony Joshua and dent his legacy?”