In a new weekly column on Boxing News and Views, I’d like to focus the first article of this column on analysing the fight styles of both Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker. Two heavyweights who are mooted to be close to finalising a deal for 2018.
In many ways its great news to hear that a unification bout in the heavyweight division is set to take place in March or April coming.
Both guys are undefeated but from a momentum point of view, perhaps Joshua comes into the contest a little more high, so to speak.
Given that last time out Parker was pushed very close by Hughie Fury whom some thought deserved to get the nod on points when they boxed.
Whatever your feeling on that is, it’s hard to deny that Joshua and Parker won’t offer something entertaining.
This is very different from Hughie Fury vs Joseph Parker where Parker essentially plodded forward all night and got the nod as the defending champion for aggression by the judges.
If he wants aggression and someone to come forward and throw heavy leather with him, he’s found someone who will have no problem in doing so in Joshua.
Similar come forward mentalities should ensure for a bloody battle as far as it lasts but if you were to compare punching power of the two, you’d have to say Joshua wins in this department.
However team Parker have pointed to the fact that their man has never been knocked down in his pro career and have famously released a video showing all the times Joshua has been put down.
Both amateur and pro. I’m not sure that this is a wise move mind you – in terms of drawing confidence from it.
Both men are improving and will have a point to prove coming into the bout. Both were involved in tough fights last time out (in their own way).
If you’re going to take the above argument and purely compare Joshua’s power to Parker’s chin there’s only one winner really for me (Joshua).
But that’s n forgone conclusion of course.
Tactics will be key on the night. Parker will actually have a significant deficit to make up in terms of reach. He’ll be 6 inches shorter in the reach department to his British counterpart.
Joshua likes to fight on the outside (for the most part) so it will be up to Parker to cut the ring off and try to use head movement and foot work to avoid getting hammered by a big right hand or left hook on the way in.
When he is in, he’ll also have to be weary of that massive Joshua uppercut when he does throw it on the inside (i.e. Klitschko).
I think Parker will need to come in very light for the bout and built for speed.
Joshua on the other hand came in at a career heaviest last time out against Carlos Takam. Similarly, I’d expect him to come in a little lighter this time.
He was blowing a bit in the Takam fight (despite getting the stoppage win) and Parker will be a step up from Takam to be fair.
Joshua will need to have his distance spot on and counter Parker as he attempts to get inside.
Defensively speaking, Parker looked a bit wide open at times against Hughie Fury. Particularly when he did close the distance and got caught by some crisp upper cuts by Fury on the inside, who times him well in different periods of the bout.
Joshua’s upper cuts will have a more devastating impact of course.
But the key in this fight for me is how Joshua starts the bout. If he can get off to quick start it will be very hard on Parker’s confidence over the twelve rounds.
If Joshua can establish a strong jab early on – it could have a debilitating effect on Parker as the rounds progress.