In the UK, where IBF, IBO and WBA (Super) heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has fought all 20 of his professional fights, there is a sense that the heavyweight division is on its way back to the big time. His bout with Joseph Parker on 31st March at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff will be the third successive fight in front of more than 70,000 fans. It safe to say the man they call A.J. is box-office material in his native UK.
He will, of course, be aiming to take Joseph Parker’s WBO belt, which the New Zealander won from Andy Ruiz Jnr back in 2016. While Parker has not dazzled in his recent fights – the last three including Ruiz Jnr were won by decision – it can be argued that he has a better chance than the bookmakers’ latest odds suggest.
The latest betting odds show Joshua is completely backed by bookmakers
Joshua (20-0, 20KOs) has been made a short-priced favourite to take the fight at around 1/8, although he is priced as short as 1/25 with some major betting companies. Odds of 1/4 are available for Joshua to win by KO/TKO, which, for many, will be viewed as the likely outcome. Joshua to win by decision – for the very first time in his career – is 9/2.
There are reports that plenty of bettors have backed Parker (24-0, 18 KOs), and you can see the attraction with his odds of 13/2 for him to win in any fashion. It is now 14/1 for Parker to win by KO/TKO. However, the bet that might suit plenty of his fans is the 33/1 for Parker to win by decision. For an expert break down of all the markets, check out your official Joshua v Parker betting guide by Free Bets.
More great fights added to card in Cardiff
Fans of the heavyweight division are in for a treat, as Alexander Povetkin and David Price will also square off in Cardiff on the undercard. Up and coming Northern Ireland boxer Ryan Burnett will also be on the card. The exciting 25-year-old bantamweight will be putting his WBA (Super) bantamweight title on the line against Venezuela’s Yonfrez Parejo. The smart money will be on Burnett to extend his unbeaten record to 19-0.
Interestingly, John Parker, who is the brother of Joseph, has also been added to the card, with an opponent yet to be announced. The other fight confirmed so far is between two British lightweights, Joe Cordina and Andy Townend. It all points to a brilliant fight night at the Principality Stadium.
March fights will create even more of a stir in the heavyweight division
Of course, this is all leading up to a potentially huge showdown later in the year to unify all the belts in the heavyweight division. Luis Ortiz and Deontay Wilder are set to clash in New York on 3rd March for Wilder’s WBC belt, with the winner likely to take on Joshua or Parker in the summer. Most think it will be Wilder vs Joshua, but with boxing you never know. There is also the imminent return of Tyson Fury in 2018, with plenty believing that, when fit and focused, Fury could topple the lot.