Sports

Who will blink first? Joshua faces Parker in world heavyweight unification bout

Who will blink first? Joshua faces Parker in world heavyweight unification bout

"Of course. This is the road to being undisputed heavyweight champion".

November 12, 2000, was quite a while ago, and New Zealand was a pretty different place. Joshua, holder of the WBA and IBF belts is, of course, cast as the anti-Tyson, not that WBO champion Parker will discern one iota of difference once that bell calls them forth.

At least one establishment close to where I lived saw that a bit of coin could be made off that situation. Swing a left hook jump on your chest. The normally humble Tua shot back that Lewis was "a lazy fighter", and boldly predicted that he'd knock him out.

On Thursday, Parker told the AM Show that he was "angry" at the Brit because he didn't shake his hand at Wednesday's pre-fight press conference. The Englishman theatrically tore it up, claiming that he 'does not read.fiction'.

There were cheers for the Tuaman when he hit the ring, albeit with an entrance song that was sounded like it was being played on a ukulele. But if you'd done it and come out the other end? I just did my usual pre-fight routine in my own little village.

When Joshua's weight was announced by Michael Buffer, the unified champion was seen brushing down his chest as if to symbolise his weight shedding and Eddie Hearn immediately applauded.

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"We're in an era where there's just so much information. We are the envy of the boxing world".

What we do not yet know is how Parker will respond under that kind of pressure.

A member of the New Zealand high-performance training squad, McDougall is attending the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as a spectator with is wife, Vicki, and their three sons, Cooper, 14, Hadley, 12, and Austin, 10, who this month had his maiden boxing match at the Hastings gym.

But while Joshua has experience of fighting in front of a huge sell-out crowd in Cardiff, the same can not be said for Parker, who has yet to compete in front of more than 10 000 spectators on any one night.

"It makes me think that he's taking this fight really seriously, he's trained very hard", he said after standing face to face and staring into the eyes of his opponent for the last time before they meet in the ring. "With Parker at 6'4" to Joshua's 6'6" added to the Englishman's six extra inches of reach, people see the strength beating the speed in this clash.

"You have to remember that even though I'm heavyweight champion of the world, there's another belt I'm fighting for".


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