Heavyweight ‘sniper’ Joshua has Parker in his sights

Britain’s heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua says he aims to be more “calculating” when he takes on Joseph Parker for the New Zealander’s WBO title in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday.

The proud owner of the WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight title belts is unbeaten in 20 contests with a perfect knockout record, and he wants Parker to be the next man on his hit list to maintain his destructive streak.

“Someone asked me, if I get Parker hurt, will I go in and execute? I’m trying to be a sniper. That’s my mindset now,” said Joshua.

“I’m dealing with a guy who has his country on his back, that obviously gives him a little bit of fuel as well. He’s a man of pride.

“But, no matter about all these positive things I say about him, my job is to knock one off the list as each round goes on and just break him down.

“When he goes back to his corner in round one, I just want him to realise his trainer lied to him.

“He’ll soon realize he’s in with a real fighter and I know 100 per cent I will break his spirit and mentality.”

Parker is two years younger than 28-year-old Joshua and is undefeated in 24 contests with 18 knockouts.

The Auckland fighter of Samoan descent became his country’s first ever heavyweight champion after winning the WBO belt against Andy Ruiz in December 2016, and he hopes to be boarding a flight back to his homeland with extra luggage.

“I’m taking all those belts back to New Zealand,” Parker said at Tuesday’s final press conference in London.

“I’m young, I’m fresh, I’m strong and I’m determined to win. We respect Anthony Joshua, we think he’s a great champion and on the night, there’ll be no excuses. I’m at my best, he’s at his best and we’re here to be part of history and take those belts back.”

He added: “I haven’t decided how I’m going to beat him but whether it’s a knockout or on points, those belts are mine.”

Joshua and Parker will meet in the middle of Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in front of an 80,000 sell-out crowd. It’s a sight Joshua has become familiar with in his last two fights against Carlos Takam and Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in London.

“The atmosphere can swallow you up,” said Joshua.

“It’s crazy. A certain amount of noise can smash glass, based on the frequency. And that sort of noise, booming, it gets you in a fight.

“It’s an experience Parker hasn’t faced yet. It is daunting, it is overwhelming.

“The fight is won or lost in training camp but the last bolt is screwed on during the spell from your changing room to the first bell.”

He added: “It’s going to be electric. You know when you come here to fight myself, you know there’s going to be blood, a fighter hurt and 20 times out of 20 I’ve been victorious, so expect the same routine.”(dpa/NAN)