Negotiations are now well under way for Anthony Joshua to fight Joseph Parker in 2018, possibly towards the end of March. The fight would give Joshua the opportunity to win the WBO and move forward with his goal of becoming the first boxer in history to hold all five titles. “To hold all five belts has never been done before, so I won’t let negotiations get in the way of securing my legacy, and what I could achieve in the sport,” says Joshua.
Joshua currently holds three out of five of the world heavyweight boxing championships. His reign started when he won the IBF belt in 2016. Since then, Joshua claimed the open WBA and IBO titles in his epic fight against Wladimir Klitschko back in April 2017, in which he ended the career of the legendary fighter by technical knockout in the 11th round.
Parker currently holds the WBO belt, and according to Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, negotiations are now close to complete for the championship fight to go ahead. “I think we’re 95 percent of the way there with completing with Joseph Parker.” Eddie Hearn will be looking for the fight to take place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff at the end of March, the same stadium in which Joshua stopped Carlos Takam in front of a 78,000-plus crowd in his last fight. And Joshua is said to be using his massive pulling power to demand around 65-75% of the total purse, though it is now thought that the financial aspects of the contract have been settled.
Parker doesn’t exactly represent an easy opponent for Anthony Joshua. The WBO champion won the title while it was vacant due to a majority decision against Andy Ruiz. Yet he boasts an impressive 24–0 record, which speaks for itself. Still, such a fight is a huge step up in power and skill from Parker’s recent opponent Hughie Fury, although Joshua is expected to walk away with the WBO. Hearn, however, questions whether Parker will be up for the challenge: “Can Parker deal with the pressure? That’s something we will only find out on the night,” he says.
It will be a busy year for Joshua, who already has a fight expected with undefeated WBC champion Deontay Wilder in 2018. Wilder has held the WBC belt since 2015 and is a real “big hitter” who should give Joshua a true test. Hopefully, the pair can agree on the split, and the fight will go on.
Still, Joshua is the clear favorite to win the bout, with 1/3 odds on BetStars. And we all know that Joshua, ambitious as he is, has talked openly and quite confidently about facing Tyson Fury in the coming year, a fight that promises to go down in history if it does take place.
Watch this space to find out more information about upcoming Anthony Joshua fights. Will 2018 be the year that he goes down in history for being the first boxer ever to hold all five heavyweight championship belts? It certainly seems possible…