Last month, as part of their campaign for a unification bout with IBF and WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, WBO titlist Joseph Parker and his team hosted a truly bizarre press conference in Auckland during which they attempted to cast aspersions upon AJ’s chin.
They had promised “rare footage” of Joshua being “dropped repeatedly by little known opponents” but what they delivered was an amateurish and cheesy montage featuring clips that had long been widely available online. They also offered a financial reward to anyone who could unearth footage of Parker getting dropped as an amateur or a professional, or even in sparring.
Regardless of how painfully cringe-worthy their little presentation was, some believe that Team Parker’s claims are valid and that Joshua’s whiskers will prove his undoing. One member of that group is Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, who recently told Fight Hub TV that he thinks Parker has a real shot at upsetting the gigantic Brit if they meet. Arum added that he feels explosive American puncher and reigning WBC champ Deontay Wilder could also finish Joshua.
“I give [Parker] a good chance [to KO Joshua]. I think Joshua is a really good, exciting fighter. Real great marquee and everything, and he’s very ballsy,” said the Top Ranks Promotions CEO. “But I don’t think he has a good chin. I really think his chin is suspect and I think that Parker, who may not be the greatest boxer in the world, but Parker has a chin like iron. And I think he’ll stay in there with Joshua and he could knock Joshua out.”
“I really believe that. I think the same thing about [Deontay] Wilder – I think Wilder could knock Joshua out(H/t BadLeftHook).”
The lack of faith in Joshua’s chin in certain quarters is based on a number of things; he was dropped by Dillian Whyte in the amateurs, stopped by Romania’s Mihai Nistor at the 2011 European Championships, hurt again by Whyte in their professional grudge match, floored heavily by Wladimir Klitschko in their titanic April shootout and there has been persistent rumours of Joshua getting dropped in sparring. The resilient AJ did, however, come through the crises’ against both Whyte and Klitschko to record vicious knockout wins.
Joshua and Parker’s teams have spent the last several months in negotiations, with the purse split proving to be a major point of contention. However, Parker’s promoter, David Higgins, recently told Sky Sports that there had been a compromise and that an agreement regarding the purses had been reached. Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, later said that while no contract had yet been signed he and his team were “working hard to try and finalize the deal” and were “very hopeful.”
In his most recent performance, Parker struggled to a points win over Hughie Fury, cousin of former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, at the Manchester Arena in September. With the win, Parker moved to 24-0 with 18 stoppages. A little over a month later, Joshua halted tough French-Cameroonian Carlos Takam, who stepped in on short notice to replace the injured Kubrat Pulev, in the tenth round at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff to move to 20-0 with 20 stoppages. It wasn’t the heavy-handed Joshua’s most convincing performance, however.
It is believed that Joshua vs. Parker is being targeted for March of April and an official announcement could be made early in the new year.