Anthony Joshua is making a “grave mistake” if he is discussing a Deontay Wilder deal instead of focusing on Joseph Parker, says the New Zealander’s promoter David Higgins.
The WBA ‘super’ and IBF heavyweight champion is just a few weeks away from his unification clash with WBO title holder Parker on March 31, live on Sky Sport Box Office, but there has been fresh speculation about a future fight against WBC king Wilder.
Parker is not concerned by reports on whether Wilder is next in line for Joshua, according to Higgins, who believes the British star would be foolish to overlook the threat posed by his boxer.
“All this talk about Deontay Wilder, I think Anthony Joshua looks past Joseph Parker at his peril,” Higgins told Sky Sports.
“Anthony Joshua’s making a grave mistake, if he’s looking past Parker. It’s one thing to quietly analyse future possibilities, but if they are going any further and are in the early stage of negotiations, it’s far too early for any of that.
“I don’t think Joseph Parker or Kevin Barry will be the slightest bit concerned that the Joshua camp are discussing all these other possibilities when they’ve got an unbeaten world champion in front of him, who has never been dropped in his life, and is lightning fast with his hands, and has great footwork.”
Joshua and Parker went head to head on The Gloves Are Off, available On Demand
The rival champions were brought together in front of the cameras for ‘The Gloves Are Off’, which is available On Demand, and Higgins suggests that Parker struck a psychological blow.
“I thought Joseph Parker was quite calm and steely confident,” said Higgins. “He was obviously looking Joshua dead in the eye, without any flinching whatsoever. He certainly wasn’t overawed one bit.
“Joseph managed to get in there a bit of a critique of Joshua, his strengths and weaknesses.
“Joshua was questioned on Parker’s weaknesses, but didn’t come up with any. He didn’t state any weaknesses at all. I think Joseph just had the edge, if I’m honest.”
Parker is nearing the end of a lengthy training camp in Las Vegas, with the 26-year-old due to arrive in Britain next week to complete preparations for the world title fight at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
“He is firing on all cylinders. This camp is the best he’s had,” said Higgins. “I talk to Kevin and Joe most days and there is a calm, confident air.
“Everything is on song, the combinations are being put together. He’s quick, he’s sparring lots of rounds, and everyone is happy. We’re on the home straight and everything is on song.
He’s not talking about Deontay Wilder, he’s focused on Anthony Joshua, and he knows what his job is – it is to beat Anthony Joshua.
“This talk of Joe being overawed about being in the UK with 80,000, that doesn’t worry him at all. People don’t know him if they say that. He fought on the [Wladimir] Klitschko undercard in Germany at a sold out event. The most unflappable guy you will meet.
“He knows that my job as a promoter is about making a deal, that’s all done. He knows he is the only one in the ropes and he is focused only on Anthony Joshua. He’s not talking about Deontay Wilder, he’s focused on Anthony Joshua, and he knows what his job is – it is to beat Anthony Joshua.”