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18th Dec 2017

Anthony Joshua targeting spring unification fight with Joseph Parker

Jack O'Toole

WBA, IBF, and IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is targeting a unification bout with WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker next year.

Joshua was at the Liverpool Echo Arena on Sunday night for the BBC’s Sports Personality of The Year awards and said that the Parker fight could potentially happen in March or April depending on negotiations.

“We have to get our hands on another championship belt [next year],” Joshua told the BBC at the ceremony.

“There’s five belts and we’ve got three of them. It’s crazy because so soon we have the possibility of capturing the other two.

“First and foremost, that’s the long-term plan. Joseph Parker is being very realistic in terms of when he’s going to fight and negotiations.

“That’s a fight that potentially could happen some time in March or April.”

Cardiff’s Principality Stadium is being mooted as a possible venue given the stadium’s retractable roof, however, Joshua did fight Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in April of last year.

The major stumbling block in negotiations appears to be a dispute over Parker’s cut of the profits, with the New Zealander demanding no less than 35% while Joshua and Matchroom Boxing appear willing to only offer 30%.

Parker’s promoter David Higgins told the broadcaster last month that his fighter deserves a fair pay day and that Parker will be able to counteract the Olympic gold medalist’s style.

“The British media have hyped Joshua,” said Higgins.

“Look at the records and Joshua beat an aging Klitschko and got flattened during the fight. That aside, a lot of the opponents have shocking records and then there is the fact he is chinny. Contrast that to Parker.

“Joshua comes forward, His footwork is not that flash. He is perfect for Parker.

“Joshua can’t unify without beating Parker or WBC champion Deontay Wilder. He needs Parker and Parker has been on the pads since he was four years old so I think he deserves a fair pay day. I think even the British fans will think that is fair.

“Joshua has to now unify with Parker or Wilder. Otherwise what he says is all hot air. It has got to the point where I think the media will finally hold him to account.”