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Rob McCracken wants a lighter Anthony Joshua as Joseph Parker fight nears

"AJ" weighed in at a career heaviest against Carlos Takam.

Anthony Joshua v Carlos Takam -  World Heavyweight Title Fight Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Trainer Rob McCracken recently spoke of his desire for world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to drop down to a lighter fighting weight as a bout with Joseph Parker draws nearer.

28-year-old Joshua beat Carlos Takam in October but tipped the scales at a career-high 18st 2lbs (255 lbs).

However, long-standing coach McCracken is hoping the WBA and IBF champion will hit 17st 10lbs (239 lbs) before the unification bout with New Zealander Parker.

Speaking to BBC Sport, McCracken said:

”The emphasis is on being as quick as possible and taking as little punishment, [being] a bit lighter would allow him to do that”

”He’s a bit lighter [than he was in his last fight] at the minute, he’s probably eased off a bit on the conditioning side of things strength wise,” McCracken told BBC Radio 5 live’s boxing podcast.

”We do 12 weeks for his fights so I can give him some days off during the camp here and there as we go. He’s done four weeks with me in London before Christmas - boxing and cardio - so he’s in good shape, sharper and a little bit leaner than he was of late.”

Joshua’s weight provided a key talking point in boxing circles before and after his 10th-round stoppage win over Takam, so much so that "AJ" decided to recruit an in-house chef at his training camp for the first time.

Some experts have suggested that Joshua intentionally gained weight as a result of Kubrat Pulev’s withdrawal from the bout less than two weeks before the fight was scheduled.

But McCracken says the week leading up to a fight - when Joshua eases his training load in order to rest - will be monitored “more strictly than we did in the past.”

Joshua is expected to face off against WBO title holder Parker in late March, with the New Zealand fighter’s promoter David Higgins due in the United Kingdom this week to finalise paperwork with Matchroom's Eddie Hearn.

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