Boxing: Anthony Joshua-Joseph Parker fight nearly a done deal

Anthony Joshua holds three of the five heavyweight titles and is poised to fight WBO champion Joseph Parker at the end of March in Britain.
Anthony Joshua holds three of the five heavyweight titles and is poised to fight WBO champion Joseph Parker at the end of March in Britain.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Anthony Joshua said on Sunday that talks over a March fight with Joseph Parker are "95 per cent" complete as the British boxer bids to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

The 28-year-old currently holds three of the five heavyweight titles, having last year added the WBA (World Boxing Association) and IBO (International Boxing Organisation) belts to the IBF (International Boxing Federation) belt he won in 2016.

He aspires to become the first boxer to hold all five titles and thinks a deal to fight WBO (World Boxing Organisation) champion Parker in the next few months is close.

"What I think can be a reality is, I want to fight for the other championship belts," Joshua told BBC Five Live when asked what his ambitions were for this year.

"There's only two left, I have three. There's five on the table and I have three of them, I want to fight for the fourth one, the WBO heavyweight championship of the world."

"I think we're 95 per cent of the way there with completing with Joseph Parker."

When asked when a fight with the New Zealander would take place and if it would be on British soil, Joshua added: "End of March, I would say.

"It has to be (in this country), the British support, what we're achieving here is phenomenal."

Should he defeat Parker, Joshua would then need to take on and beat undefeated WBC (World Boxing Council) champion Deontay Wilder to realise his ambition.

He also suggested he would be willing to fight fellow British boxer Tyson Fury, who is cleared to return to the ring after accepting a backdated two-year drug ban by UK Anti-Doping which expired last month.

"Of course, he's a lively opponent when he's fit," Joshua said of Fury.

"He has his own battles and demons to face and, once he's got over them, he's more than welcome to enter a ring with me. It's something that we should be focusing on in 2018."

Fury has not fought since his shock win against Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015. The 29-year-old then tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone shortly after. He must first, however, have his boxing licence reinstated when the British Boxing Board of Control meets this month before he can make his comeback.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2018, with the headline 'Joshua-Parker fight nearly a done deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe