Joshua vs Parker Fight Hype Should Deliver
The upcoming heavyweight title fight (31st March) between Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KO) and Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KO) has certainly caught the imagination of boxing fans around the world. Joshua puts his WBA (Super), IBO and IBF title on the line, with Parker putting up his WBO title. 75,000 fans are expected to flock to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff to watch the bout.
While the fight is putting two undefeated champions up against each other, it is being framed as 'Road to Undisputed', i.e. just one step on the journey to crown the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. That narrative has sent the media into something of a frenzy, with the UK press keen to push the perception of former Olympic Gold Medallist Joshua as a man taking steps towards greatness.
Wilder vs Ortiz a key fight in early March
The fifth heavyweight belt is held by American Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KO). He will take on Luis Ortiz (28-0, 24 KO) on 3rd March in New York for the WBC heavyweight title. The two fights then, feature four undefeated fighters (Ortiz' record has 2 No Contests, reversed after originally been awarded TKO) who all hope to vault to the very top of the heavyweight division.
The sport's 'money men' are banking on Joshua and Wilder coming out of the two fights and putting together a bout for all five titles later in the year. The pair are ranked as number one (Joshua) and two (Wilder) in the Ring Magazine's Heavyweight Ratings. There has been plenty of jousting between the two camps and plenty of bickering over the share of the purse and where the fight might take place. The fight will be inevitable though, should both fighters get through their next opponents first.
Joshua overwhelmingly backed in the bookmakers' odds
That all might be easier said than done however. While Joshua is a big favourite with the bookmakers (he is priced at 1/8, but as low as 1/25 with some bookmakers), he nonetheless faces a tough customer in Parker (odds of 6/1). The New Zealander is a clever boxer, one who has the speed and nous to deal with Joshua's size and reach advantages. There are plenty of markets for punters to capitalise on, so check out updated UK betting tips for the Joshua vs. Parker boxing fight.
Wilder is also backed by the bookmakers to do the job against Ortis but is a much higher price than the British fighter. You can find Wilder at 4/7 and Ortiz at around 2/1 at the moment, which certainly suggests a much closer fight. However, it does feel like the likely outcome will see Wilder calling out Joshua after a win at the Barclays Center, NYC, on 3rd March.
Fury and others wait in the wings
For fans of heavyweight boxing, all this speculation is welcome. It shows that there is strength at the top end of the division again. Alexander Povetkin, who fights David Price on the same card as Joshua vs Parker, Kubrat Pulev and Dillian Whyte will all be looking to get in on the action in a revived division. There is also the matter of a Tyson Fury comeback, which looks like happening sooner rather than later. It seems that there is plenty to look forward to over the next couple of years.