Is the Joseph Parker fight actually huge? Or is it just about Anthony Joshua?
Everything about Anthony Joshua is huge.
His height, all 6ft 6 of him, is huge.
The stadium attendance, predicted to be just shy of 80,000 at the Principality Stadium on Saturday to watch him take on Joseph Parker, is huge.
His social media following, approaching 6m just on Instagram, is huge.
And the money he’s generating, said to be £15m for last year’s epic scrap with Wladimir Klitschko alone, is huge.
That’s without going into his commercial deals, which include Beats by Dre, Lucozade, Under Armour, Lynx, that are on a mainstream level never achieved by a boxer in the UK before.
From the boxing ring to the studio sofa, everything that Anthony Joshua is involved in is now a huge event. And as he enters his third stadium fight in roughly 11 months, it’s perhaps no surprise that this Saturday’s unification fight against New Zealander Joseph Parker will be available to watch in nearly every country around the World.
AJ’s such a big star now that he could fight a drunk falling straight out of a Cardiff pub on Saturday night and it would still sell out any venue in Britain.
So is it the fight against Joseph Parker that’s huge, or is it all based on the power (in every sense) of Anthony Joshua?
Well as leading boxing journalist, Lee Gormley, told us “There’s nothing quite like a massive heavyweight title fight. That’s always been the case and nothing has changed in the current climate. It obviously helps when one of the biggest names in the sport is involved too and that’s exactly what Joshua is.
Alongside ‘Canelo’ he’s the main attraction in boxing and a fighter that transcends the sport, being able to attract the more casual fans and those who usually have no interest at all. No matter who he fights it’s a big fight night, but Parker makes this one all the more intriguing and it should be a very fascinating clash.”
Chris Lloyd, boxing commentator and producer, however says that it’s not this specific fight that makes it so huge, it’s the landscape around it and what’s potentially to come down the road.
“I don’t think that this fight is enormous in its own right, but context is everything. What it is, is the key chapter in a much more complex narrative that fans want to play out for the good of their sport. The obvious pieces to that puzzle are Joshua, Wilder and Fury. The anticipation of these three facing each other at some point in the next 2 years is fuelling momentum in boxing like no other sport at present. Anthony is the spearhead of that momentum, and for the script to play out as the British public want it to, he must win this weekend.
That added pressure is what I think is causing the extra furore around Saturday; There is a sense that Anthony is carrying a weight of expectation like never before, and that the hopes of bringing a new golden era back to UK boxing firmly rests on his shoulders? That’s lot of responsibility for a man who has still only had 20 professional outings. The people hold him in such high esteem, but sometimes I think they forget that he’s only human.
History often points at Lewis vs Rahman as the classic heavyweight example of the old adage ‘It only takes one shot’, and it’s clear just how close even the greatest heavyweights can be to defeat at any moment.
As Lewis proved, a loss – avenged – can add something to a fighter’s legacy, and to that end, it won’t be the end of days if Anthony loses to Joseph Parker. But if Parker does win, he throws a big spanner in the works for a lot of people, and AJ would have to travel a long, long way to get those belts back.”
Either way, whether it’s about the fight itself, the individual talent, the potential for an upset or just the incredible spectacle of a boxing event taking place in front of a sold-out sporting stadium, nobody can doubt that as AJ is involved, it means Saturday is huge.