Anthony Joshua can be dangerous throughout the course of a 12-round fight, says former opponent and another ex-world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker.
Parker was the first man to go the championship distance with Joshua when he lost the WBO belt to the then-unified champion in 2018.
The New Zealander dismissed suggestions Joshua’s conditioning will let him down in his monumental rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, live on Sky Sports Box Office on August 20.
“He can always be dangerous,” Parker said of Joshua. “He possesses the natural heavyweight ability to hurt people and to hurt other heavyweights. Let’s see what his plan is coming into this fight and see where his head’s 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 that it’s up to him now. It’s up to him and his new team to make the changes that he needs to attack what Usyk’s going to bring. There’s a lot of support for him. Everyone’s supporting him here in the UK. But also Usyk’s got a lot of support as well from his home so we’ll see what happens.”
New Zealand’s Parker fights Joe Joyce on September 24 to decide the leading contender to challenge the Usyk-Joshua winner. He therefore has a keen eye on that August 20 clash for the WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles.
“I would have to side with Usyk [winning] just because of the confidence that he’s going to come in with from the first fight. But it’ll be interesting,” Parker told Sky Sports.
“I see it being a great fight. The first fight was a fantastic fight. Not sure what Joshua’s doing with his team, in terms of changing his trainer and how he’s going to adjust and change his style coming into the second fight.”
To fight his way through to the Usyk-Joshua winner, Parker would have to beat Joyce twice. The Londoner has a rematch clause which he can trigger if he loses the first contest.
“The plan is just to focus on this fight, get the job done and then rematch again in December. Do the same thing, get the job done and win and see what’s next. The heavyweight division always changes. It doesn’t stay in one position for a long time. You’ve got the rematch with Joshua and Usyk and things might change, someone else might come into play,” Parker said.
“My plan is to win. Every fight is win, win, win,” he continued. “Win, then rematch in December and win again on Sky. The first fight’s going to be on BT and the second fight’s going to be 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 this rematch clause.”
Given their respective styles in all likelihood it will be a thrilling 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 does possess power, he’s got a great engine, we’ve seen that he can take a punch and he’s ranked highly in the WBO and WBC above myself and there’s a reason why. Because he’s a great challenge for anyone and he’s got a great amateur pedigree.
“I think it’ll be a great fight and hopefully it lives up to what we think it should be or could be.”
Joshua training camp insight
Olympic super-heavyweight bronze medallist, and Team GB boxing captain Frazer Clarke has been training alongside Joshua in Loughborough.
He was in the camp before the former champion set his training base up in Jeddah for the final few weeks before the Usyk rematch.
Clarke has been impressed with what he’s seen and is adamant that Joshua’s conditioning will hold out.
“He’s running. He’s running hard to get fitter,” Clarke told Sky Sports. “[People say,] ‘AJ’s big, he’s full of muscle, he blows out after six rounds.’ He’s running and he’s training very hard.
“Running’s not the be all and end all but he’s training very hard to counter-act that. It’s one of the things he’s recognised he could improve on from the first fight. And it’s simple maths, I didn’t do enough of this,” Clarke continued, “so I’ll do more of this. Tick that box.
“You have about 10 boxes as a fighter going into a fight that you need to tick. If you tick eight of them you might get lucky, you might win. If you tick 10 of them, you give yourself every chance.
“For me he’s ticking all them boxes.”
Anthony Joshua’s huge heavyweight rematch against Oleksandr Usyk is on Saturday August 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book Usyk vs Joshua 2 now!