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Anthony Joshua to fight Joseph Parker in March
14 January 2018, 04:04 | Henrietta Morgan
Anthony Joshua to fight Joseph Parker in heavyweight world title unification bout in Cardiff
"I'd like to announce the official news that myself and Joseph Parker will be fighting March 31 and the location will be in Cardiff, Wales".
Joshua has fought just once since beating the now retired Wladimir Klitschko, which came in a 10th-round stoppage of Frenchman Carlos Takam in October a year ago - also in Cardiff - having been originally slated to face Kubrat Pulev only for injury to prevent the Bulgarian from competing.
"It is a unification heavyweight championship fight, we all know what happened last time I was in a unification heavyweight championship fight", Joshua said.
"These fights aren't easy, cause there's a lot on the line, so respect to Team Parker for taking the challenge".
"You never really can tell what sort of weight [Joshua is] going to be, but I know Joseph Parker will definitely be coming in a little lighter than he was for the Hughie Fury fight".
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Joshua's promoters Matchroom Boxing confirmed the deal on Sunday, concluding weeks of fractious negotiations between the two sides.
Talks had previously stalled over how the purse would be split but a compromise was reached last month which will see Parker, 25, earn 30-35%.
It's obvious that Barry does not want Parker to stand right in front of Joshua, and will likely have his fighter on the move while looking to counter Joshua - who is usually a come forward puncher with plenty of aggression.
Joshua is 20-0 and Parker 24-0. "A couple of months ago I heard him say, 'Why should I be anxious about this little kid from New Zealand?' Well, now he's about to find out".
The last undisputed heavyweight champion of the world was Lennox Lewis in 1999, and Joshua plans to emulate him.
Higgins was also pleased to get the fight done and complimented Hearn on the professionalism he showed through the arduous process. "Champions should fight Champions and AJ continues to step up to the challenges".
The winner-takes all contest, to be screened live on Sky Sports Box Office in the United Kingdom, will put the victor within touching distance of becoming the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world since Lennox Lewis in 1999.
"I've done it a few times now", he said.
"Joseph Parker is the absolute epitome of the Kiwi sporting battler", said Higgins.
If anything, it will take even more pressure off his New Zealander shoulders and let more pressure pile on to the big favorite in this - Anthony Joshua.
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Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn said it would be an "explosive" tussle.
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