Boxing

Anthony Joshua set for heavyweight clash with WBO king Joseph Parker

WBA and IBF heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua. File photo.

BOXING–British heavyweight Anthony Joshua’s unification fight against Joseph Parker could be confirmed this week.

New Zealander Parker’s promoter David Higgins is due in London on Monday, when he will finalise the deal with the 28-year-old’s promoter Eddie Hearn.

The signing of contracts is understood to be imminent and Parker, 25, could then travel to the UK later this week.

Reports suggest the contest will take place on 31 March, with Cardiff’s Principality Stadium the likely venue.

The camps reached a proceeds deal for the fight in December last year.

Joshua is seeking to add Parker’s WBO crown to his WBA and IBF titles before a possible meeting with American WBC champion Deontay Wilder.

Negotiations for the showdown have been drawn out but are extremely close to a conclusion, with WBO champion Parker understood to have settled for around 33 per cent of the fight purse.

Joshua, the IBF and WBA title holder, stands to make in the region of £15m for his first fight of 2018, with up to two more bouts lined up for this year.

The Principality Stadium in Cardiff is expected to be confirmed as the venue for the fight, seeing a return to Wales for Joshua after he stopped Carlos Takam under the roof in Wales in October, maintaining his 20-fight unbeaten record.

WBO champion Joseph Parker. File photo.

Parker will be a significant challenge, even if Joshua will be a strong favourite.

The New Zealander has won all 24 of his fights, 18 by knockout. But he looked desperately underwhelming in beating Hughie Fury by majority decision in Manchester last year.

No boxer has held all four heavyweight belts simultaneously.

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