“It will take more than a human to stop me.” Ten words which sum up the fighter hidden inside the gentleman that is Anthony Joshua.
It’s difficult to talk about Joshua without bringing up the personality that he’s perfected as he’s grown into one of the world’s most amiable and articulate sporting figures. In fact, it can be easy to forget that the fighter is in him at all when he’s sat politely at a press conference. But having heard this comment, in response to doubts from next opponent Joseph Parker, regarding the strength of Anthony’s chin… it’s now become difficult not to talk about that.
After watching a worn-out Wladimir Klitschko struggle against Tyson Fury in 2015, many fans expected Joshua to use his size and youth advantage to force an early stoppage when he fought the former champ. But disaster struck when he was knocked down by the Ukrainian legend in the sixth round. Could unbeaten champion Parker – who has never even been knocked down – land a shot that lasts over 10 seconds? Perhaps. But those words from Anthony say otherwise: a rare bark from a man who usually waits to bite.
Whatever happens on 31 Mar, one entity looking to repeat last year’s success will be the city of Cardiff. Hosting 75,000 boxing fans who have had all day to wait for a fight, surrounded by 300 licensed venues, is no easy task. But the capital rose to the challenge in October and presented itself to the rest of the world with its chin held high.
The atmosphere was electric and the fans were treated to a solid performance from Joshua and a game challenge from Cameroonian Carlos Takam, whose success came via a ducking and diving style as he slipped under the worst of Joshua’s shots and came up to deliver a few of his own. A tactic that just may have been noticed by Team Parker.
And there’s one final fact that won’t be missed by Welsh rugby fans, ahead of what’s to be the second ever unification clash between undefeated heavyweights. The Principality Stadium’s previous visitors from New Zealand have brought with them presence, power, pain – and, ultimately, victory.