Anthony Joshua aims to move a step closer to unifying the heavyweight division but he can take nothing for granted against fellow unbeaten puncher Joe Parker in Cardiff. Frankie Monkhouse takes an early look at the fight, offering a nice price bet...
Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker Saturday March 31, 10.00pm Live on Sky Box Office
Anthony Joshua (20-0-0) faces Joseph Parker (24-0-0) at the Principality Stadium, Cardiffon the final night of March in what promises to be a crossroads bout for both men, as well as the heavyweight division as one.
Two fighters putting their unbeaten records on the line in a 50/50 contest, aiming to take a step closer to unifying the division. It's great to see and exactly what fans have been crying out for. Despite the interest surrounding this contest the betting suggests it'll be another easy win for the Briton. There's plenty of value around if you disagree.
AJ proved doubters wrong with gritty Klitschko win
The bulk of Anthony Joshua's professional career has been restricted to pay-per-view television which is a shame for fans who followed the Londoner through the amateur ranks and have been unable to keep track of his progress since trading the vest for big pay days. He has beaten each of the 20 men set before him to date and done it in style, recording 20 knockout wins.
The best of those was that thrill-a-minute 11th round TKO victory over long-term ruler Wladimir Klitschko. 28-year-old Joshua got the desired result but he also won over many of his doubters that evening, proving he has the chin to compete at the highest level, the fitness to dig in the trenches when dragged into the later rounds and the finisher's instinct to show he doesn't need to be asked twice when his opponent is hurt.
The Betfair Exchange has another Joshua win priced as hot favourite and you'll find 1.17trading approaching the first bell. The Sportsbook offer a market best price of 4/11 on a KO/TKO defence but it's worth remembering each of his last two have gone beyond 10 rounds, three of four entering the second-half, and a points win may appeal at 6.80.
Parker CV makes him a genuine threat
The pre-fight odds tell us that Joseph Parker travels without a chance of adding to his WBO title on British soil, but his CV suggests otherwise. With 24 wins from as many starts he rates as the more experienced fighter of the two and has gone the 12-round championship distance in each of his last three. He's approaching the prime of his career at 26-years-old and carries a 75% KO average that ensures he'll worry anyone. The 13/2 on Joe - best price on the Sportsbook - now looks to be on the generous side.
The New Zealand rep was last seen outpointing another Englishman in Hughie Fury, winning that September 2017 showdown courtesy of a majority decision. It wasn't pretty for the most part but there weren't many who screamed robbery in Fury's favour, believing the challenger didn't do enough to rip the title from the champion's waist.
Betfair traders seem unconvinced by it all and are confident enough to serve-up best price on Parker in the method of victory market. There's 9/1 on him delivering a KO upset and a cracking 25/1 on the points win. We certainly wouldn't put anyone off the latter.
Joshua will find a way to win
It's difficult to ignore Parker to win on points at such odds as, for your stake money, you'll be getting a fighter experienced over the 12 rounds against an opponent yet to go the distance. Too big, perhaps, but he was also alarmingly static against Fury and that puts us off.
Parker spent long periods of the Hughie Fury fight waiting on his opponent to do something and if the beaten man had been a little busier he could've nicked it. Take a rest or a lazy approach vs Joshua and he could lose his head. AJ will find a way to win and we fancy him to do it inside the distance at 4/11. Joshua in rounds 7-12 at 7/5 will make things a little more interesting.