Head to head: Would Joseph Parker beat Anthony Joshua?

New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker has an all-round game that is capable of more than just troubling Anthony Joshua.
PHOTOSPORT

New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker has an all-round game that is capable of more than just troubling Anthony Joshua.

OPINION: They've been on a collision course for years and the chances of Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker squaring off get better with every fight. But who would win? Sportswriters Duncan Johnstone and Jackson Thomas ring the bell and debate their relative merits.

Duncan Johnstone – YES

Of course Parker can beat Joshua and he's got more than just a puncher's chance.

Anthony Joshua celebrates after beating Wladimir Klitschko to enhance his reputation as the current best heavyweight ...
REUTERS

Anthony Joshua celebrates after beating Wladimir Klitschko to enhance his reputation as the current best heavyweight boxer in the world.

Without any common opponent, it's hard to get an accurate gauge on a Joshua-Parker fight. That's what makes it so intriguing and a potential fortune earner for the Kiwi.

One blow can change a fight in the heavyweight ranks but it will take an all-round game to beat power-puncher Joshua and that's exactly what Parker has.

Gym bunny Joshua cuts an impressive figure but he has limitations that have been exposed at various stages through his unbeaten run of 19 professional fights.

Joseph Parker on the attack against Andy Ruiz on his way to winning the WBO belt.
PHOTOSPORT

Joseph Parker on the attack against Andy Ruiz on his way to winning the WBO belt.

He can be robotic and his armoury lacks variety. He's also looked vulnerable to a fighter with good movement as Klitschko showed early.

Movement provides the angles and Parker has been working steadily on that. It's become a strength of his game. You won't beat Joshua by standing in front of him presenting a target for that deadly right hand.

Parker's improving head movement is another plus to his game as well as his recognised hand speed. I suspect Parker might be quicker to the draw and in what would be a shootout, that could be crucial. As they say, it's the punch you don't see that gets you.

Joshua showed a ton of guts to come back and beat Klitschko having been on the canvas. Given he was rocked by Dillian Whyte early in his career and reportedly knocked out by David Price at an earlier training, there's a suggestion Joshua may be a bit "chinny" compared to Parker whose granite jaw has held firm to date.

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Klitschko aside, and that was a massive performance, there's a case to argue that Parker has had a better all-round class of opponents on his unbeaten run of 22 fights.

Parker has fought more rounds than Joshua,  99-55, and gone 12 rounds twice with the Brit's 11-round effort against Klitschko his greatest endurance test.

Anthony Joshua corners and Wladimir Klitschko and unloads with his heavy right hand.
GETTY IMAGES

Anthony Joshua corners and Wladimir Klitschko and unloads with his heavy right hand.

Joshua's reckless throwing of his punches at times can be physically draining. Parker's economic style enhances his endurance.

Parker won't fear Joshua's giant proportions. In fact he'll relish them.

It's become apparent that Parker goes better against bigger opponents. His four struggles have come against fighters significantly shorter than him, most notably Sherman Williams, Carlos Takam, and Andy Ruiz.

Joshua, with his two belts is king of the ring right now. But the heavyweight division is a Game of Thrones scenario at the moment – ripe for left-field attacks and the unexpected.

Parker has the skills for a coup.

Jackson Thomas - NO

I love Parker as much as the next guy, but who could honestly bet against the red-hot Joshua right now?

Look, if Britain's newly crowned golden boy and Parker were to fight tomorrow then JP has got a puncher's chance as they say. 

In the heavyweight division one punch can end it all…as all-time greats like Frazier, Ali, Foreman and Tyson found out.

But has Joe got that knock-out ability when he is up against fighters who are on another planet in terms of their ability and fight IQ like Wladimir Klitschko, compared to the journeymen he's faced so far? Joshua does.

Has he got the chin to deal with clean, well-timed shots that hit like trucks and bounce back? Joshua does.

Or does he have the ability to change fight plans. In fact does he have a fight style any different to what we've already see - quick hands, yes, but can he "manage" a fight, changing the tempo when needed. 

In short, does he have the ring craft?

Not to mention the poise to deal with the bright lights and unbelievable hype of an AJ bout. Joshua answered all of his doubters last weekend against one of the all-time greats of boxing but when has Parker truly proved himself?

And what about trying to stay composed in front of 90,000 at Wembley, in an atmosphere more akin to a FA Cup final. It is hardly Auckland's Spark Arena, filled with sponsors, friends and family. 

But putting all that aside, I simply think that Joshua is just too big, too strong, and too confident. Far too confident.

Parker's time will come. But Joshua is the heavyweight champion of the world right now and, for the first time in a long time, that actually means something. 

Olympic gold, 19 pro wins, 19 knockouts. Have we ever seen a physical speciman like this guy before?

For me, Joshua is just too good for Parker across the board ... right now anyway.

 - Stuff

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