Anthony Joshua-Joseph Parker heavyweight title tilt close for March 31, Arum says
NEW YORK — Anthony Joshua already owns two heavyweight titles, but he has his sights set on a third.
There’s talks to match the British superstar with New Zealand’s Joseph Parker, who owns the WBO heavyweight strap, and that fight is penciled in for March 31 in Cardiff, Wales.
Hall of famer Bob Arum co-promoters Parker, and told reporters Sunday he believes the heavyweight title unification bout is a mere formality.
“We’re very, very close,” Arum said. “It’s going to happen. I give (Parker) a good chance. I think Joshua is a really good, exciting fighter with a great marquee and everything, and he’s very ballsy, 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, 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. And I think the same thing about Wilder. I think Wilder could knock Joshua out.”
Joshua (20-0, 20 knockouts) holds the WBA and IBF titles after scoring a signature victory over Wladimir Klitschko in April. The 28-year-old rose off the canvas to stop the future hall of famer in Round 11 of a modern-day classic, cementing his legacy as a bona fide heavyweight champ.
THE RING’s No. 1 heavyweight followed up the performance with a 10th-round stoppage of Frenchman Carlos Takam in October.
Parker, meanwhile, has failed to impress since he topped Andy Ruiz last year to win the vacant title. The 25-year-old was forced to go the distance with unheralded Romanian Razvan Cojanu, and then scored a majority decision over Hughie Fury in a dreary affair in September.
Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) didn’t so much as drop either man, so it would be a massive shock if he was able to stop Joshua as Arum imagined.
But it seems he’ll have the opportunity.