Anthony Joshua clashes with Joseph Parker in a heavyweight championship clash at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff this Saturday night.
Both fighters are world champions and unbeaten in their professional careers. Millions will be tuning in around the world to see who comes out on top.
We asked our boxing trader, sweet science expert, and proper geezer, Tommy Young for his thoughts on the super fight…
Ladbrokes News: Tommy, talk to us about this fight. It’s a biggie, isn’t it?
Tommy Young: It’s a heavyweight unification bout, so yeah, it’s pretty huge. Both are unbeaten, both have been touted for great things from the moment they turned pro and we should have an excellent fight on our hands.
LN: What have you made of Joshua recently?
TY: The last time we saw AJ, he faced Carlos Takam in what was a surprisingly tough night. Takam came in as a late replacement for Kubrat Pulev and very few gave the 12/1 outsider much chance of getting through the first few rounds.
It took Joshua until the 10th round to get the job done when the ref stepped in a little prematurely and AJ got a bit of flack from some corners for his display.
I think that’s being pretty unfair though. It’s worth remembering that Takam broke Joshua’s nose with a headbutt in the 2nd round. And Joshua won almost every round of the fight, knocked Takam down in the 4th and eventually claimed the stoppage.
So while he might not have blown Takam away, it was still a good result against a tough heavyweight.
LN: Is it fair to say that Parker will represent an even stiffer challenge than Takam?
TY: Takam is certainly a useful yardstick for us when looking at Saturday’s fight as Joseph Parker fought Takam back in May 2016.
Leading up to that fight Parker had fought 19 times and stopped 17 of his opponents and was being talked about having as much potential as Joshua. Then the Takam fight happened and Parker had to dig really deep to get the win.
At one point in the fight, he looked seriously hurt and had Takam been more clinical he might have been able to stop Parker. The Kiwi recovered though and fought his way to a close decision. But it was very close and certainly nowhere near as clear-cut Joshua’s victory.
LN: What level do you think Parker is at? Has he improved since that win over Takam?
TY: Well, since then Parker claimed the WBO title made vacant by Tyson Fury with a close points win over Andy Ruiz Jr. And his last fight was in Manchester where he defended his title against Hughie Fury.
That was a strange match-up in which Fury didn’t do very much and Parker was happy to go about his work pretty safe in the knowledge Fury wasn’t throwing back. And when he did there was no power.
So has he improved since the Takam fight? Yes he has, he’s gained some experience, he seems fitter and he’s won a World Title. But his reputation has never got back to the level it was before his laboured win over Takam.
He was especially disappointing against Razvan Cojanu and he never looked like stopping an opponent who, on paper, should not have anywhere near Parker’s level.
I also want to briefly mention that Parker’s team have said that he underwent surgery on his elbows after the Fury fight as he had been fighting in pain for some time before that.
They claim he is now hitting harder than ever but I don’t have too much time for talk like that. I think that’s probably an attempt to sell the fight rather than anything Joshua should be worried about.
LN: Woof. Lovely bit of expert knowledge. So, after all that, how do you see the fight going?
TY: Based on all that I predict a late Joshua knockout after some early resistance from the tough Kiwi raider. My bets will be Joshua Rds 7-12 at 13/8, and I’ll go for gold and try and predict the exact round. Joshua wins in Round 7 at 9/1. That stands out to me.
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