Anthony Joshua can be dangerous over the course of a 12-round fight, says former opponent and fellow former world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker.
Parker was the first man to go championship distance with Joshua when he lost the WBO belt to the then-unified champion in 2018.
The New Zealander dismissed suggestions that Joshua’s conditioning will let him down in his monumental rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, live. Sky Sports box office on August 20.
“He can always be dangerous,” Parker said of Joshua. “He has the natural ability to hurt people and other heavyweights. Let’s see what his plan is in this fight and see where his head is at. You can be physically in great shape, but mentally if you’re not there, it’s a waste of time
“He was a good champion and he can be champion again. It’s just now up to him. It’s up to him and his new team to make the changes he needs to attack what Usyk will bring. There’s a lot of support. for him. Everyone supports him here in the UK. But also Usyk has a lot of support from home as well, so we’ll see what happens.”
New Zealander Parker fights Joe Joyce on September 24 to decide the top contender to challenge winner Usyk-Joshua. So he has a keen eye on that August 20 showdown for the WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles.
“I should side with Usyk [winning] just for the confidence he will have from the first fight. But it will be interesting,” Parker said Sky Sports.
“I see it’s a great fight. The first fight was a great fight. I’m not sure what Joshua is doing with his team, in terms of changing his trainer and how he’s going to adapt and change his style to the second fight”.
To fight until the Usyk-Joshua winner, Parker would have to beat Joyce twice. The Londoner has a rematch clause which he can activate if he loses the first contest.
“The plan is to focus on this fight, get the job done and then come back for the rematch in December. Do the same, do the same, do the job and win and see what happens. The heavyweight division is always changing. No he stays in one position for a long time. You have the rematch with Joshua and Usyk and things can change, someone else could come into play,” Parker said.
“My plan is to win. Every fight is win, win, win,” he continued. “Win, then come back in December and win again on Sky. The first fight will be on BT and the second on Sky. They wanted a rematch clause to protect. [his position].
“If it’s an exciting fight, I think people would love to see it again, but if it’s not, we’re still stuck in that rematch clause.”
Given their respective styles, it will most likely be an exciting fight. “He’s tough,” Parker said of Joyce. “Very tough, very tough fight, big challenge. He’s bigger than me.
“His record speaks for itself. Fourteen fights, 13 knockouts. He’s got power, he’s got a big motor, we’ve seen he can take a punch and he’s ranked well in the WBO and WBC above me and there’s a reason why Because it is a great challenge for anyone and has a great amateur pedigree.
“I think it’s going to be a great fight and hopefully it lives up to what we think it should be or could be.”
Joshua Training Camp Info
Olympic super heavyweight bronze medalist and Team GB boxing captain Frazer Clarke has been training alongside Joshua in Loughborough.
He was on the field before the former champion set up his training base in Jeddah in the last few weeks ahead of Usyk’s rematch.
Clarke has been impressed with what he has seen and is adamant Joshua’s conditioning will hold up.
“He’s running. He runs a lot to get in shape,” Clarke said Sky Sports. “[People say,] “AJ is big, he’s full of muscles, he’s going to explode after six rounds.” He runs and trains very hard.
“Running isn’t the be-all and end-all, but he’s training really hard to counter that. It’s one of the things he’s acknowledged he could improve on since the first fight. And it’s simple math, I haven’t done enough that.” Clarke continued, “so I’ll be doing more of that. Check that box.
“You have about 10 boxes as a fighter going into a fight that you have to check off. If you check eight of them, you might be lucky, you could win. If you check 10 of them, you give yourself every chance.
“For me, it’s ticking all the boxes.”
Anthony Joshua’s big rematch against Oleksandr Usyk will be on Saturday 20 August, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book Usyk vs Joshua 2 now!