Sunday 20 January 2019

Anthony Joshua cuts his weight ahead of showdown with Joseph Parker in Cardiff

Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker at Friday’s weigh-in in Cardiff. Photo: Reuters
Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker at Friday’s weigh-in in Cardiff. Photo: Reuters

Anthony Joshua cut a lean figure on the Cardiff scales as he weighed in nearly a stone lighter than his last fight for his world heavyweight unification showdown with Joseph Parker.

Joshua, the WBA and IBF king, tipped the scales at 17st 4lbs 2oz for Saturday's fight at the Principality Stadium - 6lbs heavier than New Zealand's WBO champion Parker.

The 28-year-old had shed 12lbs from his 18st 2lbs frame when stopping Carlos Takam in October, while Parker has lost 9lbs since outpointing Hughie Fury a month earlier.

"Taking that bit of weight off makes this fight a little easier," Joshua said on stage after the two men had weighed in.

"I feel better. Training is all about rehearsal and so is sparring, but it has gone well.

"You will see I will be a lot sharper.

"My reflexes will be sharper and my speed will be much sharper."

With both unbeaten champions coming in significantly lighter than their previous fights, the action before a 78,000 sell-out crowd promises to be fast and furious.

The two men looked keen to get down to business as they entered the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena before 4,000 fans.

Parker, at 26 two years younger than Joshua and the first to enter the auditorium, was accompanied by New Zealand Haka dancers and Samoan singers.

But the decibel level was turned up several notches as fans' favourite Joshua took to the stage.

Neither man appeared to twitch in the final stare-down, and it was clear there was huge mutual respect between the pair.

"He looked good, but I would expect that from a world champion," Joshua said. "You will be in for a good, good fight (on Saturday) night, believe me."

Parker is unbeaten in 24 fights and remains confident of upsetting the odds.

"The first few rounds could go either way, depends who follows their game-plan better - I'm ready for anything," Parker said. "I'm here for war. You'll have to do everything to beat me."

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