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Cardiff slowdown: Joshua faces Parker

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British-born Nigerian Anthony Joshua returns to the ring at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on Saturday night with his IBF, IBO and WBA titles on the line against WBO title holder Joseph Parker.

The fight, which will be broadcast in over 160 countries, is dubbed Road to Undisputed because it involves the heavyweight division unification between Joshua and Parker. The winner of the fight unifies the three major titles at stake.

The fight has a reported £20m purse with Joshua expected to take home up to £13m while Parker will receive £7m – a career high for the New Zealand boxer.

Twenty six-year-old Parker, who is undefeated in 24 fights, is the current WBO world champion – a title he won in December 2016 and has successfully defended the title twice. He has won 18 of his fights by knockout while six have ended in his favour by unanimous decisions.

Joshua, who is undefeated in 20 fights and which he won through knockouts,added the WBA world heavyweight title to his IBF and IBO titles when he knocked Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko out in front of 90,000 fans at the Wembley Stadium on April 29, 2017. He successfully defended the three titles against Carlos Takam on October 28, 2017 at the Principality Stadium.

The 28-year-old, whose parents come from Sagamu in Ogun State, has revealed his sights are fixed on becoming the first man to hold all four major heavyweight world titles.

According to Telegraph, a win for Joshua will make him the third man to hold the three major world titles after Americans Mike Tyson and Lenox Lewis. A victory will also fuel talk of unifying the titles with the WBC crown of Deontay Wilder, who is unbeaten in 40 fights.

The last boxer to hold three major titles was Lennox Lewis, who became undisputed champion by defeating Evander Holyfield on November 13, 1999. Lewis held the IBF, WBA and WBC titles in 2000.

The fight will be a tough one for both parties as they look to end each other’s unbeaten runs. The fight also extends beyond the two fighters as an estimated one million subscribers are expected to view the fight around the world.

Parker said he is not afraid of Joshua – rather he respects his opponent and would go for the title.

“I’m prepared for one of the biggest fights I’ll be involved in. Everyone says you’re going to have stage fright and be nervous walking out in front of so many people but I’m so blessed and grateful to have a team around me, who keep me grounded,” he told Telegraph.

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