CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker have shed the pounds (kilograms) for their world heavyweight unification title fight on Saturday.
At a weigh-in on Friday where both fighters showed respect for each other, WBA and IBF titleholder Joshua tipped the scales at 242 pounds (110kg) — 12 pounds lighter than for his most recent fight against Carlos Takam in October.
Parker, the WBO champion, weighed 236 pounds, nine pounds lighter than his last fight against Hughie Fury in September.
“I feel better,” said Joshua, who hasn’t been this light for a world title fight. “When I put this weight into the real thing, I’ll be a lot sharper and my reactions and timing will be better.”
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After the stare-down, Parker and Joshua shook hands and briefly chatted on the stage.
“We’re both going to be moving well,” Parker said, “and throwing big bombs.”
Renowned for his power punching having knocked out all 20 of the opponents in his professional career, Joshua said fans might see a different side to him on Saturday.
“Boxing is not just about brute strength, it’s about finesse and technique,” he said. “So you’re going to see some real class skills in there.”
The fighters were addressing a crowd of about 4,000 people at the weigh-in at Motorpoint Arena in a rainy Cardiff.
A New Zealander with Samoan heritage, Parker entered the stage to a few jeers, moments after supporters welcomed him with a New Zealand haka and a Samoan siva.
Parker looked like he meant business, whereas Joshua was all smiles as he high-fived some fans on his walk to the stage.
Around 78,000 fans are expected at the nearby Principality Stadium for the fight between two unbeaten world champions.
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80