The Big Question: What is your assessment of Joshua and Parker?

Boxing Monthly
08/12/2016 9:40pm

With promising young heavyweight stars Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker both in world title action this weekend, we asked the Boxing Monthly online team for their report cards on both men's careers so far ...

Profile wise, Joshua, as a product of the Matchroom media machine and entering straight into professional boxing from his Olympic gold medal slipstream, is the bigger name. Everyone knows him and everyone on the world heavyweight scene wants a piece of him. Let's also not forget - he is a heavyweight world champion. IBF at least. On the other hand, with a vastly less impressive profile and media push behind him, and despite not being a world champion, I genuinely believe that Parker's fight against Andy Ruiz Jr is a far more exciting prospect to view, compared to Joshua vs Molina. The latter, in essence, being the latest instalment of canon fodder for Joshua. The Parker fight gains my attention more, because it's two unbeaten fighters attempting to becoming world champions, with Parker, the more seasoned and possessing the high knockout ratio. The argument against Parker is that he's vastly under tested ... as is Joshua. If Parker comes through his test against Ruiz with flying colours, maybe he can lock horns with Joshua, for what could be a cracking heavyweight fight ... finally! - Paul Zanon

Anthony Joshua is undoubtedly a powerhouse. But there are flaws in his style. His physical attributes and power are incontrovertible, but they should not detract from the attention that needs to be paid to certain weak spots. For instance, he is somewhat flat-footed, and drops his right hand after throwing it. The taller Deontay Wilder could make him pay with a sweeping left hook, or the more wily Povetkin could duck and detonate the same shot only shorter. Joshua is a phenomenal athlete, a big banger, and a tidy boxer to boot. Dillian Whyte was for Joshua what the Frank Bruno fight was for Lennox Lewis. This has been followed by two well-chosen opponents for the world title as his stock has risen. In the absence of Tyson Fury he has the burden of carrying the British heavyweight pride on his shoulders, but unlike Fury, I don't think he currently has the natural ring intelligence and attributes to get past some of the division's older, bigger men, who could think he is ready made for them, in the same way that Holyfield saw chinks in a post-prison Tyson's armour. - Danny Wayne Armstrong

I like both. Whilst Joshua in particular has been the beneficiary of some excellent promotion and hype, he himself has done everything that could be expected of him. Plus, his fight with Whyte was legitimately exciting. I do prefer Parker, but I suspect only because he is slightly more mysterious a proposition - whereas Joshua is arguably the most well known active boxer in the U.K, Parker is hardly a household name. Hopefully the two meet eventually. But this is one of the few fights I want to be allowed to 'marinade'. Neither is the finished article and I want these two to meet when they are at that point. - James Oddy

I understand why some around boxing are turned off by the hype attached to Joshua in particular (e.g. 'Champ in less fights than Mike Tyson' and 'Quicker champ than Ali' etc, please!) Strip that away however and we have two young, driven, exciting heavyweights sure to feature in good matches. Joshua is a frightening puncher who does what heavyweights are supposed to do. I recall Frank Warren making the point in the build-up to Bowe vs Holyfield II, that despite 'Big Daddy's' poor title opposition (Dokes, Ferguson) he was at least blasting challengers out in style. Scarily still a work-in-progress, the 2012 Olympic champion follows a similar template and will surely benefit from trainer Rob McCracken being made official. I like Joshua a lot and can't wait for the all-but-signed Klitschko fight. Parker has the tougher assignment this week (BM ranked number seven against number ten) but I expect him to come through against Ruiz Jr. Parker proved his mettle in the tough twelve round decision vs Carlos Takam. Importantly, that was also an exciting fight with some of Parker's combinations reminiscent of former holder of this WBO belt, Tommy Morrison. Parker seems to be improving under coach Kevin Barry and - like Joshua - appears to have a significant 'upside' yet to be revealed. It's fantastic for the division and health of the sport that we have a competitive heavyweight top ten featuring a colourful mix of Brits, Americans, a Cuban, Ukrainian, Russian, Bulgarian and New Zealander. Now we just need one champion ruling them ... - Chris Williamson

In the mid-90s there was this wonderful moment at light heavyweight where three long-reigning champions unified within two fights: WBA champ Virgil Hill (nine defences) went to Germany and unified against IBF champ Henry Maske (ten defences), and then returned to Deutschland to face adopted-pole and WBO champ Dariusz Michalczewski (nine defences). Normally I am hell-bent on immediate unifications and never fragmenting the belts again - but just this once I wouldn't actually mind seeing both Parker and Joshua clear-out the division as per the mid-90s light heavies before squaring off in a couple of years. Throw Wilder into the mix and maybe 2018 could see the three of them, all undefeated belt-holders, all having made a few defences, finding out who is top dog. It'd be even better if lineal champ Fury returns and gets in on the action. I expect Joshua to get by Klitschko if they meet in 2017. I hope the WBA malarkey gets sorted-out and they go back to having one champ so that Joshua doesn't have to face the likes of Oquendo. If I was putting my money on anyone in the division right now to clear things up, I'd say Joshua ends-up as top dog and undisputed champion. Parker? A close-second with a bloody good chance of causing the upset. - Colin Harris

By Sunday there will be three heavyweight world titlists who truly reside somewhere between 'glorified prospect' and 'developing contender'. There is plenty to like when it comes to Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker, with plenty of similarities but notable differences as well. Joshua is a little older, taller, longer, more experienced and accomplished (including the amateurs) – yet one could make the argument that he has faced the lesser opposition as a professional. Parker’s gut check against Carlos Takam this May proved that he has the mental fortitude to raise his game when pushed, as well as the stamina to go twelve full rounds. Should he defeat Andy Ruiz this Saturday, particularly in another close competitive fight where he once again has to show real mettle, Parker will further distinguish himself as a more proven heavyweight contender than AJ. - Michael Montero