Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker

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Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker
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Saturday, March 31, 2018
Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, UK
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Titles at Stake: 
WBA, IBF & WBO Heavyweight World Titles


Fan Cards: Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker

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Champion97's picture

Prediction (part 1),

My favourite scheduled fight! Nothing beats a unification fight between two young, undefeated world champions, to build on that, there are three of the four world titles at stake here, in the heavyweight division of all weight classes. I hope all the millions of boxing fans out there can appreciate this fight, I hope they all look forward to it, because I think some of the 'fans' of this decade are somewhat spoiled, ungrateful, hopefully, this fight is anticipated as a big deal in the sport, and it is viewed as a major fight, which it is.

This should be a fantastic fight, both these guys are dedicated athletes, they are 26/28, so they're in their primes, they are both big punchers, they both have a lot of speed, strength, neither of these guys have taken long breaks, both these guys have a lot to gain, the winner will go home with three belts, they also have a lot to lose, an unbeaten record, and at least one world title.

Joshua is the favourite, understandably so, but he is also a heavier favourite than he should be, for various reasons. Joshua is a couple of inches taller than Parker, he has a lot more reach, half a foot in fact, great advantage, and come fight time, he'll probably have 15-20 lbs on Parker. In terms of age, there shouldn't be any advantage either way really, but if anyone does have maybe a slight advantage, it is probably Joshua. Joshua has the one outstanding victory out of the 44 wins between the two fighters, that was his hard fought triumph over boxing legend, Wladimir Klitschko, last April. Besides having a win on his record which is better than any win Parker has, Joshua has also been the more dominant fighter on route to victory, with this convincing combination, it is no surprise that Joshua is expected to win this one. I think the aspect of the sport which is ('staged' being a strong word) exaggerated, for business related reasons, suits Joshua, he has become something of a dominant force in boxing, in terms of reputation, the British media, the British public, getting carried away, this is I think the reason why Joshua is a heavier favourite in this fight than he should be.

I think Joshua has the better amateur experience behind him, Joshua had 40-50 bouts, Parker had 60-70, so Parker was more active, both short amateur careers, but in terms of amateur achievements, Joshua's Olympic gold medal beats any of Parker's achievements, they both competed in many tournaments, both competed in serious competitions, but Parker was on the losing end of significant bouts in the unpaid ranks, more often than Joshua. Amateur careers don't mean so much, there is a big difference between amateur boxing and professional boxing, but they are relevant to the extent that a better amateur career does provide a fighter with more skill at the start of their professional career, and when fighters are in meaningful fight, they use all the skill, all the will they have, all the experience, all the knowhow they can, so pedigree, amateur and professional, should be taken into account.

Parker has had a few more professional fights than Joshua, he's been a professional for 12-18 months for longer, and although people don't acknowledge it, overall, Klitschko aside (obviously Klitschko being on Joshua's record makes the comparison more interesting), Parker has fought, and beaten the stronger opposition. Carlos Takam is the common opponent between Joshua and Parker, I certainly think the second best opponent Joshua has fought so far in his career. Joseph Parker also has wins over Andy Ruiz Jr, Hughie Fury, not big names, and both of these were narrow victories (whilst Joshua has stopped all his opponents, and been ahead, with the exception of the Klitschko fight, clearly), but I think Dillian Whyte, Dominic Breazeale, and a very disappointing Charles Martin were all, though also undefeated before fighting one of these two fighters, were overhyped, overrated, all poorly conditioned (relatively speaking), so although there isn't much in it, I think Parker has fought the better opponents, including the earlier stages of their careers, Francis Botha, Sherman Williams, levels above Michael Sprott, Jason Gavern.

Champion97's picture

Prediction (part 2),

As well as winning majority decisions over Ruiz and Fury, Parker was embarrassing, simply terrible against Razvan Cojanu, a far less than challenging opponent, in what was hard even to take seriously as a real fight, Joshua, without doubt, has never looked nearly that poor in a fight, that certainly didn't help Parker's reputation. On paper, Carlos Takam's success and failure strongly suggest that Joshua is going to win this fight, Joshua ahead, 8-1/9-0 on the scorecards before stopping Takam, Parker, being awarded 7/8 rounds in a unanimous decision victory against Takam, enough to win the fight, but failing to win a landslide, some even suggested Takam 'let Parker win', funnily enough, some accused Ruiz of the same thing. Considering Takam was an older fighter when he fought Joshua, and the stoppage was a joke, besides many (myself included) giving Takam 2 rounds of the completed 9, and the unfortunate facial injury Takam suffered, the difference isn't what it seems, but nevertheless, Joshua beat Takam more convincingly, and established more of a difference in ability, than Parker did when he defeated the same opponent, though what really matters in boxing, as in any sport, ultimately, is the achievements, and winning is the objective. I think it would be interesting to hear or read Carlos Takam's prediction, analysis on the fight, as the only fighter who knows first hand what it is like to fight Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker.

Parker has been more active throughout the last 3 years, he had 12 fights in through 2015-17, Joshua, over this time span, had 10, I don't think this is necessarily a good thing for Parker, I thought that he might have been fighting too much in 2016, Joshua had the right amount of fights I think, he has been easily consistent enough, based on 2016, though it wasn't acknowledged, Parker had fought at the far, far higher level, but it is hard so say that now, after the year Joshua had in 2017, but I do still think Parker has fought the slightly better opponents overall.

In terms of adapting to fighters with a certain style, the Klitschko fight doesn't prepare Joshua for Parker particularly well I don't think. Parker is extremely different to Klitschko, he is more than 15 years younger, he fights tooth and nail, even when he is classes above his opponent, his output is very high, but he doesn't have the ability to box his way into a solid rhythm the way Klitschko did, make it his kind of fight, and I don't think that will ever be his style, he is far more durable than Klitschko, but he isn't, and I don't think he ever will be the measured, jabbing machine Klitschko was.

If this fight goes late, if I were Joseph Parker, I would fancy my chances, Parker has been the full 36 minutes 3 times, Joshua hasn't ever been in round 12, and hasn't been in round 8 more than twice, and whilst Joshua carries a very high amount of muscle which makes him initially very strong, forceful, it can be a hindrance on a long distance basis, it limits the quantity of punches he can physically throw, it makes general activity very tough, excessive muscle mass is always a big gamble. Joseph Parker has a granite chin, that much is clear, he's taken big punches in his amateur and professional career, he took a few huge shots against Takam, and took them very well, I've never seen him hurt, and I hear he has never been hurt as a boxer, there are some fighters who are just so durable, Gennady Golovkin has a similar history to boast about, never dropped as an amateur or professional. Anthony Joshua is mentally sound, he has desire, he certainly has the heart, I don't think he has a particularly vulnerable chin, I don't think it is a major issue for him, but he certainly doesn't have the same punch resistance as Parker, he was dropped, stopped many times as an amateur (not unusual at all) he has been hurt in two professional fights, dropped, once, by a shot I think would have dropped any heavyweight and stopped many, so I don't think Joshua is vulnerable, but I don't think his chin holds up against power as well as Parker's chin does.

Champion97's picture

Prediction (part 3),

I think because Parker has such a better engine, the higher stamina, the better chin, the more long distance experience, a trench fight, beyond 6 rounds, that may well favour Parker, it probably would, the interesting thing about he late rounds though, is that Joshua has struggled for pace after 4-6 rounds, endured the downside of carrying so much muscle, and there have been fighters in the past, who have either not been able to get through the toughest times, weather the storm, or simply not managed to find it in the tank to fight back late in the fight, for whatever reasons, that's not Anthony Joshua, he was gone against Klitschko in round 6, he was on the verge on being stopped, and he found it in the tank to rally late, pull out that spectacular finish, land that fight changing uppercut, and follow it up, stopping Klitschko, winning the title, so Joshua has the fitness to find a second wind, he's young, especially for a heavyweight, he's only become more experienced since the Klitschko fight, so Parker can't consider it a guaranteed win even if he does outfight, hurt Joshua in the mid-late rounds, because Joshua, however dead on his feet he seems, might not be the doomed fighter he looks like when it really goes against him.

I think Anthony Joshua's jab is underrated, it is an improving, developing attribute, and against Klitschko, it was a good weapon for him, he has also improved in terms of controlling distance, learned how to keep fighters out of range, back them up, bully them, keep them on their toes, as he proved against Carlos Takam. If Joshua can use his reach, back Parker up, make it so that he is working harder, box without having to work unnecessarily hard, so he has it in the tank to sustain a degree of movement and work rate, then come rounds 7-9, maybe he can use his skill, use his reach, ring generalship, and make it so that Parker can't stand toe to fight, have a dogfight.

I think Anthony Joshua will win this fight, you could say this is 50/50 fight. It is silly to write Parker off, he could win, I wouldn't be that surprised if he won, to look at this from the angle that this is a 50/50 fight, is a better way to evaluate the fight. I think Joshua's natural size, and (to an extent) his outright weight will help him, I think he is slightly more talented than Parker, and I think he is the more compete boxer, I think he makes fewer mistakes, I think he is learning, improving more effiently. Parker, Joshua both hit hard, but I think Joshua hits harder, that right uppercut is something of a stand out shot. Both these guys have a lot of attributes, hand speed, blocking abilities, head movement, punch variety, ability to put clean, crisp combinations together in great form, but I've seen these attributes from Parker in spots, and from Joshua, I've seen these attributes, more consistently in fights, not so often, because he hasn't needed many of these attributes in many of his fights, but I've seen Parker use great attributes from time to time, and Joshua use similar attributes whenever it is necessary to do anything other than flat out dominate.

I think Joshua is a better counter puncher than Parker, I think Parker might have the slightly faster hands. I think Parker is better at fighting on the back foot than Joshua is, his ability to punch off the ropes is underrated, I also think he switches up his attacks from head to body slightly better than Joshua does, but I think Joshua is better at bullying opponents out of fighting the way they want to fight. I have observed when watching Parker and Joshua fight, that Parker gets hit more in exchanges, and I think part of it might be about maturity and use of experience, but I think Joshua is the more consistent round by round fighter, Parker showed most attributes against Takam, Fury, Ruiz, which we see from Joshua, having said that, of those 36 rounds Parker fought against those three fighters, I thought he lost 15, and there were rounds in all those fights, when he looked like a decent fighter who couldn't carry his talent, dominance up a level, it didn't turn out that way, he won all those fights, which is what is really significant, but far less often have I watched Joshua fight and opinionated that he is struggling to bring his talent, dominance up a level or two.

Champion97's picture

Prediction (part 4),

If Parker is going to win this (and I'd say he has a 30/35% chance of causing the upset), he must rise to the occasion, box much better than he ever has in the past, he has to prove himself an adaptable fighter, specifically, it is important for Parker than Joshua works harder than he wants to in the first 6 rounds, Parker should invest in shots to the body, and the second half, he shoukd lead by stepping behind the jab to the body, push back the bigger but more fatigued fighter, drag him out of his wheelhouse. If he can, Parker needs to make it so that Joshua can't have rounds where he has a less taxing, fatiguing time than he does, then he should work negatively throughout rounds 9 and 10, try to nick the rounds, that way Joshua will be less likely to manage a rally in the championship rounds, and Parker can keep the pressure on, raise the tempo.

If Joshua is going to give himself his strongest chance of winning this, box as sensibly as he can (and he has to do this against an undefeated world champion who is dangerous and underrated), then he has to establish his reach, his fast, strong jab, early. Joshua has to put weight behind his shots early on, but I think he should throw a limited number of punches, it will be hard for him to do this without being out worked, but I think Joshua should box this way for the first 6 minutes, and I think in terms of his offence, he should try to make Parker walk onto shots, rather than chasing openings, because that way, Parker will be less likely to counter, or at least, be on guard, and walking into a shot is always painful. It is probably round 3, 4, or maybe 5, when Joshua should jump on Parker, maybe in the last 10-20 seconds, but I think establishing his ability to hurt Parker, a knockdown would wouldn't be bad for his chances in the fight. It would be a gamble worth taking, provided he takes a risk with his brain fully switched on, and I think pushing to hurt his opponent late in a round is important, so he gets a minute to recover if his muscle works against him. If Joshua has a solid lead after 6 (which could be very important), then I think getting back to the jab in rounds 7 and 8 would be wise, he has to take rests, make it so that Parker is working a lot harder than he is in these rounds. I think Joshua's tactics in the last two rounds should depend on whether or not Rob McCracken thinks he is well ahead or not, if he is a fair distance ahead, I think the tactics will be to let Parker walk into the jab, ship counters, tire himself out, and if Joshua weakens him, up the tempo, but settle for technical dominance, any kind of success, it if it is close, or worse, he is trailing, I think he'll want to use his natural size, push Parker back, make it rough, try to rally, go the extra mile, take risks, try to set him up for that uppercut.

I think the first 2-3 rounds will be tentative, nobody will have a really convincing start, but I think Joshua will take the initiative, create a bit of distance, push out a few throw away shots, I think Parker will be very inactive, and the only decent shots will come from Joshua.

I think there will be more movement from Parker than Joshua, and he'll frustrate Joshua by slipping under his straight shots in the early-mid rounds. I see Parker beginning to snap out the jab, have his own successes, discourage Joshua from throwing punches. I think Parker will be seeming to outwork Joshua in rounds 4 and 5, but Joshua will have slightly more ring IQ, land a stand out counter or two to possibly steal the round. I think Joshua will draw Parker onto an uppercut in round 6, Parker will stay on his feet, but will back peddle, Joshua will press on the gas, Parker does not have fast feet, so Joshua won't be punching shadows, but I see Parker making for an awkward target, and Joshua won't risk wasting too much.

I think round 7 will be tentative, Parker will have to be cagey, but I think Joshua will be struggling for pace a bit, and he'll struggle to find good opportunities to let the shots go, and Parker will put more pressure on him. I think Parker will finish the round with a strong flurry of body shots late in the round to probably steal it, making the fight far more interesting, and making Joshua struggle for oxygen. I think Parker will look to be in the driving seat, steal round 8 on work rate, as a ponderous Joshua drops his punch output. I think Parker will land a fantastic power shot flush on the target towards the last minute of the round, and Parker will go for the kill, have Joshua reeling, out on his feet, give him a beating, and with 10-30 seconds left in the round, come close to stopping the home fighter.

Champion97's picture

Prediction (part 5),

I think Joshua will back peddle in round 9, still having a torrid time, but controlled, and recovered. I see Parker walking into some counter jabs from Joshua mid way through the round as he gets ts more confident, lets more shots go, having tried his best to capitalise on the previous round, I think he'll also be struggling for pace. I think Parker will try to put the weigt behind his shots but moderate his output when he realises Joshua ha his legs beneath him, this could make him more dangerous, but it could also make him more of a target. I think Joshua will draw Parker onto a fantastic counter right hand late in the round, rocking him, and I think Joshua will follow it up with a couple more big shots, decking the challenger, who rises up, exhausted, but not discouraged.

I think Parker will try to drag Joshua into the trenches in round 10, he'll think it is his territory, having recovered from being knocked down, he'll try to keep relentless pressure on Joshua. I think Parker will throw most of the shots, the fight will be fought on the inside for much of the round, Parker, seeming to get the best of things, before Joshua finishes the round well, creating distance, and landing some clean straight shots, punches that really register. I think Joshua overpower, out think, and hurt Parker in round 11, Parker will be gutsy, resilient, but Joshua will look to be well and truly on top. I think the last round will punctuate a great, action packed fight, I think Parker will be the fresher fighter, he'll have recovered from the previous round, and he'll out slug Joshua, out fight him, land more shots, land with slightly more snap, and he'll be taking a toll on Joshua, in a round he needs more than his opponent does, pushing for the knockout, and I think Joshua, virtually nothing left in the tank, exhausted, on the losing end of the session, but ahead in the fight, and standing his ground, holding his own.

I think it will go to the scorecards, and Joshua will be able awarded the win via unanimous decision (114-113, 115-112, 116-111).

If Parker does as well as I think he will, he will do his reputation no harm at all, if he wins, then it will be a phenomenal result for New Zealand, he will be able to claim himself as the best in his division, and he will be offered a vast sum of money to give Joshua the rematch, he'll become the A-side in a possible rematch, I believe Joshua has a rematch clause, I doubt Parker will consider trying to avoid the rematch if he does pull out the upset here.

If Joshua wins this, as I think he will, then I will give a pot of credit, the people out there who understand boxing will give him a pot of credit, it will be a great, really meaningful win. I don't think Joshua will get anywhere near enough recognition from the wider public and media if he beats Parker, in a competitive fight, for the reason that Parker is underrated, but reputation aside, it will be another mission complete for Joshua if he beats Parker, a significant career achievement, and in terms of clearcut facts, he'll have three world titles, which is a great honour for any fighter, any athlete. If this fight goes the way I predict, then I don't think Eddie Hearn will want Joshua to give Parker the rematch, but Joshua himself, I think, will want the rematch, the some of the fans will want to see the immediate rematch, but most will be more excited at the idea of Joshua vs Wilder, I think Joshua and Hearn will want to fight Wilder at a later stage, smoke him out, and with the first fight being so popular, so I think there is a strong chance that Joshua vs Parker I and II will fill 2018, leaving Wilder at least temporarily out of the picture, but I could be wrong, it is very hard to predict because it depends on so many things, it is about business sense, negotiations, fighters doing what suits them best, making it work for themselves if they can. For late 2018, Wilder, Parker again are both great options for Joshua, but it would also not be a bad idea for him to take a less challenging fight in September-November this year, assuming he has a draining fight with Parker and goes through a lot of wear and tear, meaning a rematch or a Wilder fight would have to wait until next year.