In anticipation of Saturday’s title unification between heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker, Sky Sports thought it would be a good idea to have their promoters face-off for a debate over the fight.
So in this video feature Eddie Hearn and David Higgins square-off to discuss their thoughts on the upcoming clash. Check out some excerpts below with the full video above.
Hearn on why Joshua wins:
“I like David Higgins and I like his team and they’re a little bit quirky, you know? I think quirky is the right word...but quirky doesn’t win elite sporting events...on our side we don’t see any other result than an Anthony Joshua win by knockout.
“[Joseph Parker] has never walked out into anything like this before...I think one of the dangers for AJ is...[Parker] doesn’t seem that bothered. He’s very laid back so I think he’s actually gonna have fun and I think that’s gonna make him dangerous in this fight because it’s not like he’s gonna come all stiff and, you know, tense...
“You almost want the other guy to fold under the pressure and when we talk about mentally strong — David has been very vocal in saying Anthony’s not mentally strong — I have to say I think he’s one of the most mentally strong sportsman I’ve ever seen. But we’ll see on March 31st, one, how good Joseph Parker is, and two, how mentally strong he is.
“I just feel Anthony Joshua is another level to Joseph Parker. But that doesn’t mean you can rule this guy out.”
Higgins on his perspective of the fight:
“So what’s interesting is we came out highlighting what we feel is Anthony Joshua’s weak chin. And there’s footage around the internet of him being flattened in various training camps and fights. Joseph Parker has never been dropped and it’s true, he hasn’t. So Parker clearly has a better chin. That’s a fact.
“When we started saying that, Joshua started saying really quirky things...he’s not used to being analyzed like that. Then he said he won’t shake Joseph Parker’s hand after the fight. And why would you say that two months out? Then he starts saying ‘I want to be like Roger Federer.’ Can you imagine Federer saying, after Wimbledon, I won’t shake my opponent’s hand two months before Wimbledon?! No! Signs of pressure. Anthony Joshua is already feeling the pressure right now...
“It’s clear to me who’s mentally tougher: Joseph Parker. Who’s got a better chin: Joseph Parker...I think they’re making a mistake of overlooking Joseph. Joe has advantages over Joshua and I see the pros and cons of both fighters. They seem to be speaking like only Joshua’s got a chance. They haven’t acknowledge any of Joe’s advantages.”
“It’s easy to walk out in an arena with a couple thousand people in there, with everybody patting you on the back, and feel relaxed and feel good. When you walk out in front of 80,000 [screaming fans] who want you to get knocked out, it’s a very different environment. When you talk about getting hit on the chin, who’s [Parker] been hit on the chin by? Hughie Fury?! Barely, you know what I mean, he’s not a puncher. Carlos Takam? Good fighter but not a puncher. Andy Ruiz? Not a huge puncher...
“So what I’m saying is, the truth is, David, is we don’t know how good Joseph Parker’s chin is.”
“[Parker] started on the pads at age 3. He would’ve had numerous amateur fights, training camps, and professional fights, and he’s literally never been off his feet in 26 years — other than when he goes to bed at night to go to sleep.
“That’s a very big difference to Anthony Joshua because for every piece of footage of Joshua being dropped there’s another six rumors going around — it’s like every man in English boxing is putting their hand up saying ‘hey, I dropped him too!’ So some might be true and some not, but don’t take this as disrespect for Anthony Joshua — Joshua has advantages too. I think he’s got a height and reach advantage. Does he have more power? He might have a touch more power, perhaps. And he’s got a home advantage.
“So we’re acknowledging both. I think they’re underestimating Joseph Parker at their peril, and I think that in the late rounds, and stamina, Parker’s been the distance four times. And if you watch, at the end of those 12 round fights, Parker’s panting no more than the beginning. So he’s got proven stamina. So he’ll take Joshua into the deep water and once Joshua fades — and remembering Joshua tends to square up a bit and be there to get hit, to a certain extent — then he’s a sitting duck and I think Parker will stop him late in the fight.”
Higgins on what Joshua’s other weaknesses are:
“He’s mentally weaker than Joseph Parker. His chin is not as good as Joseph Parker. And he doesn’t have the experience in the late rounds that Joseph Parker has. And he’s had a soft ride funded by British amateur boxing, Sky Sports, and Eddie Hearn.
“In New Zealand boxing doesn’t even get government funding. There are hardly any sponsors. When Joe turned pro he didn’t have an Olympic gold. There’s no one fawning over him. He’s scrapped his way up and hustled his way up from the bottom, as did we, and that makes us tougher.”
Higgins on how Parker wins this fight:
“Simple. Joshua’s made for Joseph Parker. We’ve been wanting to fight Joshua for three years because guys like Hugie Fury, with respect, have a tricky style for Joseph. But Joshua squares up and he’s there, you know, so for us we’re excited. And if they’re trading, and they’ll trade — it’s gonna be an exciting fight — who has a better chin? Joseph Parker...I reckon Joshua’s gonna go down first and later in the fight Joseph Parker will knock him out.”
“I don’t think you believe [that], David...You really believe your man is gonna get knocked out. Deep down you do. You do.”