Regardless of how you feel about the hype surrounding the Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker title fight on 31st March, it is undeniable that it has given a huge boost to the heavyweight division. In the UK most notably, Joshua has been dominating the sports pages, with the British media keen to frame the fight as but one step in his journey to become undisputed champion. Parker, while not enjoying the same level of attention as Joshua by his local press, has nevertheless been popping up all over the New Zealand dailies.
Massive crowd set to cheer on Joshua in Cardiff once again
The pair are set to clash for the Joshua’s IBO, IBF and WBA (Super) titles and Parker’s WBO tile at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff. It looks set to be the third straight 70,000+ stadium sell out for Joshua, after he took on Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium, London and Carlos Takam at the Principality Stadium last year. It will be by far the biggest crowd that Parker has ever boxed in front of, although he has already fought in the UK against Hughie Fury in Manchester last year.
Huge number of bets expected to be placed on the fight
The latest Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker betting odds do not make good reading for the New Zealander however. Betting is expected to be huge with the odds frequently changing as a consequence, but Joshua (20-0, 20K0’s) has been installed as a red-hot favourite. He is currently widely available at 1/12 (-1200) to win the fight but is as low as 1/25 (-2500) with some major UK bookmakers. Joshua to win by knockout is priced around 1/4 (-400), which is likely to be a popular bet given the former Olympic champion’s perfect KO record.
Betting companies have reported plenty of interest in Parker (24-0, 18KO’s), with the New Zealander available at 6/1 (+600) to win the fight. A KO win for Parker, something that Deontay Wilder predicts is his only option, is priced in at 9/1(+900). Overall, most bookmakers have gone significantly low at 1/6 (-600) that the fight ends early. It’s 7/2 (+350) that is goes the distance.
It is, of course, going to be interesting to see what happens between Wilder and Luis Ortiz in their WBC title fight on 3rd March. The media, especially in the UK, has made it sound inevitable that Joshua and Wilder will be holding the belts on the morning of 1st April. The unbeaten pair of Ortiz and Parker seem to be the forgotten men of the story. Boxing, as we have seen in the past, does not always follow the neat, linear path set out by the media.
Fury set to make comeback in April 2018
Setting aside the hype, it is hard not to get enthused about the two fights coming up in March. Four unbeaten heavyweights clashing for the titles over the course of 2018 gives a real reinvigorating boost to the division. There is also the matter of the soon-to-return Tyson Fury re-entering the picture. His defeat of Klitschko in 2015, coupled with vacating the belts, played an integral role in the domino effect that has led the division to be where it is today. It will be fascinating to see what the endgame will look like.