When Anthony Joshua’s next opponent was announced to be Joseph Parker, it felt like the Brit was getting the message: if you want to be the best, you’ve got to start fighting the best – Wladimir Klitschko was a worthwhile name, but the Ukrainian was the wrong side of 40 for Joshua to truly take the two-time world heavyweight champion as a scalp.
Parker wears the fact that he’s never tasted the canvas as a badge of honour, and unlike Joshua, Parker has a greater understanding of what it’s like to go the distance in a boxing fight – three world title fights that Parker emerged victorious from, went the whole way.
Only four of AJ’s 20 fights have gone further than the Third Round – twice to the 7th, plus a 10th and 11th Round stoppage – compared to 12 of Parker’s 24 fights that have gone further than the Third Round.
Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on March 31 is the confirmed date and venue for the fight – the first time since Mike Tyson and Tony Tucker came to blows in Las Vegas in 1987, that two undefeated heavyweight champions are entering the ring together – but how will it pan out?
This fight will be a true show of Anthony Joshua’s ability as a fighter – does the Brit have the mental strength to go for 12 rounds, as Parker has shown on countless times that he has a strong chin. Will AJ have something different to offer outside of his dominant jab?
The career of both so far suggest that Joshua’s performances greatly outweigh those of Parker’s with a specially designed CLICKON algorithm ranking Joshua at almost 50% greater than the visiting Kiwi.
Both scores above are given as a career average for each fighter, with the points system as follows: (Rounds Unplayed) + (BoxRec Opponent Star Rank 1-5) + (KO Score) – the KO Score is 100 for a 1st Round KO, 50 for a 2nd Round KO, 25 for a 3rd Round KO and 0 after that.
You can see from the graph below that only AJ has truly tested himself against a BoxRec 5* rated boxer, whilst Parker prefers to keep himself in and around the middle of the pack.
Joshua’s highest points score was ‘300’, with the Brit knocking out then then-unbeaten Gary Cornish – with his BoxRec star ranking of 3 – in the first round. Whilst Parker’s score of ‘270’, in his 15th career fight with Bowie Tupou, works out as the Kiwi’s best performance.
Perhaps somewhat concerning for Joshua is that he’s coming into the fight off the back of his second-worst performance of his career, with his 10th Round stoppage of Carlos Takam earning AJ just 110 points (five more than his career-worst bout against Jason Gavern).
Using the algorithm, we’ve worked out that although Parker will represent a tougher test, he’ll crumble like so many before him, just after the halfway point.
William Hill’s 8/1 odds on an AJ victory in the seventh look very appealing right now.