By Akwasi Appiah
When Anthony Joshua (WBA, IBF) takes on Joseph Parker (WBO) on the 31st of March at the Principality Stadium in Wales in front of 80,000 people, he will be one fight away from creating history, and becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion. The press conference earlier today marks the start of ‘the verbal wars’ as said by Joshua.
If you didn’t get a chance to watch it, then let me be the first to tell you that the first win must go to Team Joshua when he won the first of many intermediary stare downs. Parker’s promoter stuttered when asked how confident he was in his fighter, and Joshua addressed questions on his chin, putting to bed rumours of having a ‘glass one’ as implied by Joseph Parker’s team.
Anthony Joshua was self-assured when addressing the press. Respectful always, he answered questions posed to him by his promoter Eddie Hearn and Sky Sports commentator Adam Smith in his usual composed manner. When asked about rumours of him being repeatedly dropped in camp, he answered saying, “it will take more than any human to stop me where I’m destined to be.”
“When you want to talk about facts, the three times that I have been hurt or dropped was in the European Championships when McCracken knows I was actually banned from the GB team, because I was still getting in trouble.”
Joshua admitted he was complacent in his last fight with Carlos Takam, but acknowledged that the same attitude will not be repeated against Parker.
Watching the press conference live on @SkySportsBoxing @EddieHearn and the way @anthonyfjoshua conducts and presents himself is top class. After everything that was said by team Parker he maintained the respect levels. Team Parker looked shocked! #JoshuaParker
— Carlo Luchesse (@skwestbank) January 16, 2018
The same composure could not be said of Parker’s team; watch the video below to see how Eddie Hearn sharply addressed David Higgins.
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) January 16, 2018
Parker, quiet as ever, said he “hopes the best man wins.” He admitted to studying Joshua since the amateurs when they both fought in Azerbaijan. He said,
“I know his strengths, he knows mine, I know his weaknesses and he thinks he knows mine.”
But the confidence behind his words was lacking. Reactions cannot be rehearsed, just look at his reaction to Joshua fighting Klitschko (below). Surprisingly, he wanted Klitschko to win contrary to his coach who was routing for Joshua. Maybe this is metaphor for the reality of Heavyweight boxing; words are often exchanged, bravado often inflated, but when it comes down to it, the sport humbles even the most confident men on earth.
Throwback to Joseph Parker celebrating Klitschko’s knockdown of Anthony Joshua, before proclaiming Joshua’s TKO11 an “early stoppage”. #JoshuaParker
(Screen in the background shows what point in the fight they’re seeing.) pic.twitter.com/UT0zrKJ8Qn
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) January 14, 2018
Akwasi Appiah is a 3rd year Economics student at Queen Mary University. He has a strong passion for talent development and music. He has his own blog ‘akwasiappiah.com’ and has written for discussion outlets such as @OGGM_ and @DesiringGod.