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Joshua-Parker unification fight set for March 31

14 Januar 2018 11:57

Anthony Joshua will fight Joseph Parker in a heavyweight title unification fight on March 31 in Cardiff.

The Briton's promoters have confirmed he will put his IBF and WBA belts on the line against WBO champion Parker at Cardiff's Principality Stadium, ending months of lengthy and protracted negotiations between both camps.

Both men will put undefeated records on the line, while the victor will move a step closer to unifying the heavyweight division for the first time since Lennox Lewis achieved the feat in 1999.

Speaking about the bout, Joshua said via a Matchroom statement: "It's a unification heavyweight championship fight, everyone knows what happened the last time I was in one. 

"These fights aren't easy, there's a lot on the line so respect to Parker for taking the fight. I'm looking forward to it, training camp is under way."

This week, Eddie Hearn – Joshua's promoter – confirmed that a deal was close to being signed off, with Parker's representative David Higgins having flown to the United Kingdom for talks.

New Zealander Parker, who outpointed Hughie Fury to defend his strap in Manchester in September, has a 24-0 record and warned his rival he is in for a surprise.

"Anthony Joshua is in for a huge shock," he said. "A couple of months ago I heard him say, 'Why should I be worried about this little kid from New Zealand?'

"Well, now he's about to find out. And the world is about to find out whether AJ can really take a punch. My entire existence is now devoted to proving what the boxing world already knows."

Joshua returns to Cardiff, where he last fought to retain his belts against Carlos Takam to record a 20th victory inside the distance from as many fights.

And Hearn spoke of his relief at getting the deal complete.

"I'm delighted to get this fight made – it's been a long time coming," he said. "Champions should fight champions and AJ continues to step up to the challenges.

"It's the first time in history that two reigning heavyweight world champions have met in Britain and it's a classic match-up between two young, fast, undefeated belt holders and it's going to be an explosive fight. 

"This is another huge unification fight for Anthony as he continues to make history in the quest to become undisputed world heavyweight champion."

The winner is likely to target the victor of the Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz fight on March 3, where the former will defend his WBC belt in New York.

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