Bars set for boxing bonanza as Joshua takes on Parker in Cardiff

27th March 2018

Pub and club customers are in for a treat during Easter with some huge sporting events taking place over the Bank Holiday weekend. 

And events don’t get any bigger than the heavyweight world title unification showdown between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker in Cardiff on Saturday, March 31, showing live and exclusive on Sky Sports Box Office.

WBA and IBF world heavyweight champion Joshua meets WBO title-holder Parker in the Welsh capital and it is set to be a momentous occasion with a capacity crowd of 80,000 packing into the Principality Stadium. 

As well as three of the four heavyweight titles, Joshua and Parker are putting their undefeated records on the line in Cardiff in a match that very definitely falls into the ‘essential viewing’ category for even the most casual of sports fans. 

Joshua is one of the biggest sporting stars on the planet right now and the many thousands of fans who packed into British pubs and clubs last April to see his showdown against Wladimir Klitschko enjoyed a night of rare sporting drama. 

That memorable night at Wembley ended with Klitschko left reeling from Joshua’s all-out assault of powerful combinations which sent him crashing to the canvas twice before the referee stepped in to stop the fight. 

Now Joshua will be aiming to dish out the same treatment to New Zealander Parker. Parker is highly rated in his native land and is undefeated in 24 bouts, having beaten Hughie Furie on points last September.

In late 2017, Parker had surgery on both elbows, a move which his camp claim has led to a 20 per cent improvement in his punching, leading many pundits to the conclusion that he goes into this fight slightly underrated. 

Sky Sports pundit and former cruiserweight world champion Johnny Nelson is convinced that Parker is going to provide worthy opposition to Joshua in Cardiff. 

“This is not going to be a one-sided fight,” he said. “Parker is unbeaten, is younger than Joshua and they have both come through the same amateur and professional pathway.

“What is different is that Parker has not had the same number of high-profile fights as Joshua even though he’s still an unbeaten world champion. In Cardiff, he’s going to be walking out in front of 80,000 people shouting for Joshua and he’s never had to deal with that before so there’ll be a mental aspect to how he performs. But I believe this will be Joshua’s hardest fight.”

It all adds up to a big night of thrilling boxing action and Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of event promoter Matchroom Sport, is convinced that bars which show the fight will be making a shrewd investment. 

“Boxing is reaching new levels of popularity and any bar knows that they have to show the big fights like this one,” he said. “When AJ fights, it’s like a national holiday so if I was a pub owner I’d make sure I was showing a Joshua fight no matter who his opponent was.

“This fight is the first time in British history that two reigning heavyweight world champions have fought in  this country so it’s a must have for bars. Just look at the great business that was done in pubs for AJ’s fight against Klitschko last year - you couldn’t lose with that one. 

“A family friend who runs a major pub company said that the Joshua v Klitschko fight was one of their busiest nights ever and friends with smaller pubs have said the same.”

Before Joshua and Parker take to the ring (around 10pm), the undercard will feature some of British boxing's most talented and exciting fighters. 

Liverpool’s David Price takes on Russia’s Alexander Povetkin in one of the thrilling supporting fights on the night. The Russian is the WBA's mandatory heavyweight challenger and is a potential future opponent for Joshua or Joseph Parker but he will have to watch himself against the powerful Price. 

Meanwhile, Anthony Crolla vs Edson Ramirez will also be a fascinating match-up. Having defeated Ricky Burns in his last bout, Manchester’s Anthony Crolla sets his sights on becoming a two-time world lightweight champion and the Manchester fighter will look to gather momentum with this fight against Mexican Ramirez. 

Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker, live and exclusive from Cardiff on Saturday, March 31, on Sky Sports Box Office


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