By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) – Joseph Parker went face to face with Anthony Joshua on Tuesday and said he had yet to decide how he was going to win the unification battle of the undefeated world heavyweight champions.
New Zealander Parker (24-0) had no doubt he would do so, however, in front of 80,000 people at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on Saturday.
“I feel it’s my time,” the bespectacled WBO champion, looking sharp in three-piece suit and tie, told a crowded news conference at Sky television’s London headquarters.
“I’m here to take those belts back. I’m here to be part of history.
“I haven’t decided how I want to beat him yet. I don’t know if it’s a knockout or points or a decision. I’ll see how I feel on fight night. Those belts are mine.”
The taller Joshua, the WBA, IBF and IBO world heavyweight champion, boasts a 20-0 record and is the overwhelming favorite.
The 2012 Olympic champion was equally certain he would emerge triumphant, portraying Parker as another step in his own life journey and not even the toughest opponent.
That was Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko, whom he beat at Wembley in April last year.
“I’m definitely preparing for a 12-round fight, 110 percent,” said the chiseled Briton.
“But let’s say I’ve got 20 quid (pounds) in my pocket and I’m looking at Joseph Parker and Anthony Joshua. I believe Anthony Joshua will knock Joseph Parker out for sure.”
Joshua, who had said on Monday he expected Parker to be overwhelmed, has won all his previous fights by knockout and has boasted that no human can stop him.
Parker, who said he would be surprised if Joshua could catch him, detected a whiff of arrogance and said he was no stepping stone for someone else.
“Of course he can be beaten,” the New Zealander said. “He’s not a god. He’s a human being.
“I know if I catch him clean, he’s out. He looks angry, he looks nervous. I’m not nervous. I’m ready for this, I’m confident.”
Despite his status as the poster boy of a division whose other big name is American Deontay Wilder, the undefeated WBC champion, Joshua spoke also of the fear of losing.
“It keeps me motivated,” he said. “One minute you’re the man, and the next you’re not.”
With the two contenders remaining polite and respectful several seats apart, it was left to U.S. big fight announcer Michael Buffer to crank up the hype.
“This Saturday we will take one more step closer to the goal of a fighter being called the undisputed heavyweight world champion,” he said.
“Champion versus champion, undefeated fighter versus undefeated fighter. Somebody’s O has got to go.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)