Undefeated world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, will face New Zealand’s Joseph Parker in a unification clash in Cardiff on March 31, the Nigerian-born Briton announced in a video on his Twitter account on Sunday.
Joshua, who holds the World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) belts will fight Parker, World Boxing Organization (WBO) champion, at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales following weeks of intense negotiations.
In his last fight inside the Principality Stadium in October, Joshua claimed a 10th-round stoppage victory over Cameroonian-born French boxer Carlos Takam.
Joshua, 28, says he hopes to take another step towards becoming the undisputed world heavyweight champion.
“I like to fight. It’s like one step closer to adding a strap to my legacy. It’s my main objective, and it’s showing I’m never shy of a competition,” said Joshua, who is a Sky Ambassador.
“He’s (Parker) a respectable competitor, he is the WBO heavyweight champion of the world, so it’s like one step closer to adding a strap to my legacy.
“That’s what makes it exciting.”
Parker, 26, who is also undefeated, vowed to rip away Joshua’s two world titles by racking up his 25th straight victory.
“Anthony Joshua is in for a huge shock,” Parker said. “A couple of months ago I heard him say ‘why should I be worried about this little kid from New Zealand’?
“Well, now he’s about to find out. The world is about to find out whether AJ can really take a punch. My entire existence is now devoted to proving what the boxing world already knows.”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn says it is going to be a classic.
“I’m delighted to get this fight made – it’s been a long time coming,” Hearn. “Champions should fight champions and AJ continues to step up to the challenges.
“It’s the first time in history that two reigning heavyweight world champions have met in Britain. It’s a classic match-up between two young, fast, undefeated belt holders and it’s going to be an explosive fight.
“This is another huge unification fight for Anthony as he continues to make history in the quest to become undisputed world heavyweight champion.”
Parker’s promoter David Higgins predicted that his fighter will ruin the perfect record of Joshua.
“Joseph Parker is the absolute epitome of the Kiwi sporting battler,” said Higgins. “It has been said that he is punching above his weight, but he didn’t become WBO heavyweight champion by being lucky.
“He’s never been stopped, never even been wobbled in the ring. He’s consistently fought fighters in the world’s top 10 and he’s beaten them all easily. It certainly won’t be a shock to me when he beats Anthony Joshua and takes his titles back home to New Zealand.”
Packaged by Lanre Olabisi