Though it became public more than two weeks ago that the Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker camps had reached an agreement on the purse split for a massive heavyweight title unification bout, boxing fans were left waiting for an official announcement.
We were initially led to believe it would come early in the new year, but those first days of 2018 passed without any word. There were apparently still contractual issues to resolve before the bout could be finalized.
Then last week, it emerged that Parker’s promoter, David Higgins, was flying to London to try and seal the deal.
On Sunday morning, Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, confirmed that the bout has been signed and will take place on March 31st at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
IT'S ON!! @anthonyfjoshua will fight @joeboxerparker for the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO World titles March 31st at @principalitysta – first time in history two reigning heavyweight champs have fought in ?? @SkySportsBoxing #roadtoundisputed ???? pic.twitter.com/wTu8yF9D7r
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) January 14, 2018
Britain’s Joshua(20-0) won the IBF heavyweight title with a KO win over visiting American Charles Martin at the O2 Arena in April of 2016. He made two successful defences of the title before claiming two further straps, the WBA title and lightly-regarded IBO belt, with a cracking stoppage win over former lineal heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley last April. In his last outing, Joshua laboured to a tenth-round TKO win over tough late-replacement Carlos Takam, who had stepped in for the injured Kubrat Pulev, at the Principality Stadium in October.
Parker(24-0) picked up the vacant WBO title with a points win over the previously unbeaten Andy Ruiz Jr. in Auckland in December of 2016. The Kiwi has since made two successful defences. In his most recent fight, last September, he overcame Tyson Fury’s cousin, Hughie Fury, via unconvincing majority decision at the Manchester Arena.
March is set to be a huge month for heavyweight boxing, as unbeaten American Deontay Wilder(39-0) is also set to defend the WBC heavyweight strap against Cuba’s Luis Ortiz(28-0) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on the 3rd.
An announcement regarding on-sale dates for tickets to Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker has yet to be made. The fight will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Box Office Pay-per-view in the U.K and Ireland.
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) January 14, 2018