- Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker meet on March 31st at Principality Stadium
- Both fighters are young, undefeated heavyweight champions
- Four world titles are on the table, bringing the division closer to unification
The heavyweight division is one step closer to unification!
Four straps will be on the line when Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) and Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) meet on March 31st. Joshua holds the WBA, IBF, and IBO titles, while Parker holds the WBO. This is a pivotal moment for the division and a huge gamble for both fighters. Not only are they putting their titles on the line, they’re also risking their undefeated records.
Anthony Joshua (-800) vs Joseph Parker (+500)
As expected, AJ opens as the clear favorite. The 28-year-old Brit is the biggest name in heavyweight boxing at the moment, and for good reason. He’s an Olympic gold medalist, a three-title champ, and has 20 professional wins to his name and as many knockouts. His phenomenal win against Wladimir Klitschko last year made him the unofficial lineal champ, the man who beat the man.
Joseph Parker is a rising star in the division. His narrow win against Andy Ruiz in 2016 earned him the vacant WBO title, and the kiwi successfully defended the strap on two occasions. He’s undoubtedly one of the best heavyweights in the world right now, but his recent fights all had some nervous moments.
He struggled with his stamina against Carlos Takam, he was outboxed by Andy Ruiz, and he looked pretty average in his last fight against Hughie Fury. Against an opponent like Joshua, Parker will have to step up his game in order to make the fight competitive.
There are some reasons for Parker to be hopeful, though. Most notably, Joshua has a suspect chin while Parker has never been dropped in his professional career. Then there’s the issue of stamina. Joshua often appears sluggish in the later rounds of his fights. He’s also a pretty stiff fighter since his 6”6’ frame makes it difficult to be nimble.
Still, that’s not enough to back Parker. While AJ has his weaknesses, he’s still the superior fighter by a pretty large margin. Parker is an extremely durable boxer and could be the first to take Joshua to the scorecards, but I’m picking AJ to win outright.
Pick: Anthony Joshua (-800)
Method of Victory
- Joshua by KO, TKO, or DQ: -400
- Joshua by Decision: +450
- Parker by KO, TKO, or DQ: +900
- Parker by Decision: +2000
Anthony Joshua has never allowed a fight to reach the judges, so naturally Joshua by KO/TKO is the favorite. However, I believe Parker can survive 12 rounds. The New Zealander has an iron chin and has never even come close to being put away. AJ knows what’s at stake, so he may take a cautious approach to the fight. Trying too hard to stop Parker in the early rounds may lead to Joshua gassing early. Parker’s chin has been tested many times and has always held up, so Joshua would be wise not to recklessly headhunt. Joshua by Decision at +450 is well worth a stab.
- Over 7.5: +110
- Under 7.5: -155
If you’re not comfortable picking the fight to go the decision, then perhaps this is the prop for you. Picking the over at 7.5 total rounds is pretty enticing. Joshua’s last two fights went deep into the later rounds and Parker’s last three fights went to decision.
Odds Deontay Wilder is the winner’s next opponent: 9/11
This is the fight everyone wants to see. AJ and Parker will unify four titles, leaving Deontay WIlder with the WBC strap. A unification fight will determine, without a doubt, the baddest man on the planet. Joshua vs Wilder is the fight everyone is asking for, but Joshua’s team has kicked the can down the road for some time.
After Wilder’s insane knockout victory against Luis Ortiz earlier this month, it’s impossible to dismiss him any longer. Joshua is still waiting to make his US debut, and a title unification fight against Wilder would be an amazing way to introduce the British champ to America.