Cardiff City’s Principality Stadium hosts a world heavyweight title bout that serves as a crossroads for the division. With four belts on the line it’s a chance for the victor to tighten his stranglehold on the sport, edging closer to undisputed status.
Oddsmakers have had their say on the March 31st clash, the betting coming down in support of British knockout king Anthony Joshua. In fact, the current odds have punters asking how, rather than if, the former Olympian wins. Dedicated followers of the noble art know all too well that’s a risky strategy.
Buster Douglas didn’t have a hope of laying a glove on Mike Tyson. Hasim Rahman shouldn’t be in the ring with Lennox Lewis, it was a mismatch. Boxing is renowned for high profile upsets, and that’s exactly why we love it. William Hill traders certainly aren’t sitting on the fence when pricing the outcome of Joshua vs Parker, offering the jolly at -800.
Let’s look at three ways the outsider can spoil the party…..
Underdog is time served
Joseph Parker is the more experienced fighter, taking part in 24 professional bouts, four more than his opponent. The fact Joshua has KO’d all of his rivals to date means he has never been dragged into deep water, his stamina still under question. That doesn’t apply to the Vegas-based New Zealander, who has contested a whopping 58 more rounds.
He turned professional a year earlier and, most importantly, has travelled the championship 12-round distance four times. That’ll be worth its weight in gold if this gets tactical. Joshua looked gassed at times vs Klitschko. Pretty muscles and punch power do nothing to help when a sprint becomes a marathon. The away fighter on points is +2200.
Parker brings plenty of power
It seems to have been swept under the carpet by the British media. A lot has been made of the fact Joshua is undefeated, bringing stats of 20-0-0, with 20 knockouts. Frightening, and that’s why he’s champ, but Parker is also yet to taste defeat. The 26-year-old, born in South Auckland, stands 24-0-0, with 18 knockouts. AJ will give anyone worries, carrying dynamite power in both fists, but the fact the man coming out of the opposite corner brings a 75% KO ratio ensures he can’t be taken lightly.
Interestingly, Joseph has gone the distance in each of his last three, outpointing Andy Ruiz Jr, Razvan Cojanu and, most recently, Hughie Fury. He has a dozen stoppage wins in the first three rounds of fights however, and that makes the KO/TKO upset worth our attention at +750. Parker to win inside six rounds is a stunning +1600.
Quick on the draw
If Parker had been a little less fortunate he could be going into this one having lost two of his last three, nicking bouts with Andy Ruiz Jr and Hughie Fury by majority decision. The fact he was given the nod suggests he has a style judges appreciate. There wasn’t too much in the Fury fight in September, ringside scorer Rocky Young’s card showing a 114-114 even split. He couldn’t part them and there weren’t many in the know rushing to argue.
In December 2016, Parker edged Ruiz on a majority, Salven Lagumbay undecided, again scoring 114-114. His two colleagues that night, Ramon Cerdan and Ingo Barrabas, gave it to Joseph by just two rounds, 115-113. So, what are the chances of a gripping draw in Wales? Well, not much, according to the quotes, +2800 available if you expect the rivals to be in a sharing mood. Parker’s form means it wouldn’t be the biggest shock. The rematch would certainly generate plenty of extra cash for all concerned.