Heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua is busy grafting hard at the moment ahead of his unification fight at the end of the month and has drafted in some of the best sparring possible.

Sometimes when sparring is brought up, in terms of a champion bringing in a sparring partner, the tone can be a little disrespectful by some who might say:

“Oh, he’s just a sparring partner.”

Sparring is sparring, true, but it still forms one of if not the most vital cogs in preparation for a top-level professional fighter.

Even in today’s time of sports science and nutrition, sparring mimics what a fighter will try to do on fight night

Promoter of Joshua Eddie Hearn confirmed to Talk Sport that Joshua’s last foe in the ring in fact (Carlos Takam) will be brought in this week as Joshua’s chief sparring partner ahead of final preparations for his fight on March 31st:

“What their argument is we want to be a world title contender, not a sparring partner. But I said yeah, it’s a compliment that AJ has six or even sparring partners and says I want Takam – because I believe that’s  a great spar and he can give me great work.”

Joshua and Takam fought it out last year in a bloody battle that ultimately ended in a stoppage win for Joshua but he was pushed hard by Takam, who won many new fans from the fight.

The pair fought in the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales last year. The same venue where Joshua will take on WBO champion Joseph Parker on March 31st.

Stylistically the above arrangement could offer some use to Joshua, too – with Parker also being a fair bit smaller than Joshua. Like Takam was.

His come forward, aggressive style offers some similarities to that of New Zealander Parker for sure.

Smart move Joshua and head coach Rob McCracken.

Crafty as ever.