A “motivated, focused and purposeful” Joseph Parker is primed to shock the boxing world on April 1 (NZT).
The 26-year-old will face Anthony Joshua in Cardiff in a unification bout for Parker’s WBO title, and the Brits IBF and WBA crowns.
Most pundits, particularly British scribes, have Joshua as a heavy favourite, given his 20-0 record – all knockouts.But Parker’s trainer, Kevin Barry has warned Team Joshua that what awaits them is something they have never seen before.
“Joseph Parker, at his best, does things that other heavyweights only dream of doing,” Barry told Boxing Voice.
“If he brings his best performance, we will leave the ring victorious.”
Barry is well aware of the danger Joshua poses to Parker’s undefeated record, but is confident the Kiwi will have the answers at the Principality Stadium.
“Anthony Joshua is very big, very strong.
“He has height and reach over Joe, and he hits very hard. If we go backwards the whole fight, then it will be an easy night for Anthony Joshua.
“I need a lot of movement from Joseph, I need the Joseph Parker that shows hand speed and foot speed.
“I need the Joseph Parker that not only moves backwards well, but attacks.
“We are going to do a few things in this fight that we haven’t seen from Joseph Parker’s last few fights.
“If we stand back and let Joshua measure the distance with his jab, and keeps Joe on the outside, it will be a difficult night for us. We need to pick our moments to attack and give a lot of movement.”
Parker’s promoter Duco Events has made much of Joshua’s suspect chin. David Higgins produced a video of the 28-year-old being knocked down in both amateur and professional ranks.
That video was mocked by Joshua’s camp, although Barry said the question of Joshua’s durability is valid – that can’t be said of Parker.
“I feel confident in saying that, through a very long amateur career, Joseph Parker never saw the canvas. I have never seen him down or even hurt through hundreds of rounds of sparring.
“He has never been on the canvas in 24 professional fights. Joseph has good ‘whiskers’, but it’s not like we want to go out and test his chin against Joshua’s power – I want to see Joseph hit as little as possible.
“Joshua will need to put a four, five, six-punch combo to put Joe on the canvas. Joe has never been hit with two punches in a row, let alone one. Joe has very good defence, he rolls with the punches.”
Anthony Joshua, IBF and WBA heavyweight champion. Photo credit: Photosport
Barry’s excitement levels for the fight have been heightened, after watching his charge train in recent weeks.
Parker’s 2017 didn’t produce the type of performances that saw the Kiwi thrust into heavyweight contention the previous three years.
The South Auckland native coasted in his first title defence against Razvan Cojanu, earning a unanimous points victory, while in September, Parker squeezed past Brit Hughie Fury by majority decision in a razor-close fight.
Barry acknowledges that Parker was below his best, but with history beckoning against Joshua, we will see the best version of the WBO champion.
“This is the first time in eight years that we have had a unification fight in the heavyweight division,” Barry said. “This fight has a lot of importance for heavyweight boxing.
“Joe needed the ultimate challenge and that’s what this is.
“This will bring the best out in Joseph Parker. His focus has changed, the motivation is there and there is a spark in training.
“This really means something to him. It’s heavyweight history at stake.”