Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker: New Zealander ready to ‘go to war’

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Anthony Joshua’s public workout in Cardiff
Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 31 March
Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and mobile app

WBO world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker says he is ready to “go to war” with Anthony Joshua in Saturday’s unification bout in Cardiff.

Parker, 26, speaking at Wednesday’s public workout at St David’s Hall, said his team have got “under the skin” of WBA, IBF and IBO title holder Joshua.

“He looks a little angry and tense,” said Parker, as 400 fans watched on.

Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker: New Zealander ready to ‘go to war’
Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker: New Zealander ready to ‘go to war’

“I’m young, hungry, fit and strong. I’ve got my speed back and I’ll show you on Saturday.”

Briton Joshua, 28, stated he would maintain a “challenger’s mindset” as he looks to defend his perfect 20 knockouts from 20 fights.

He looked leaner – as expected after weighing a career-high 18st 2lbs last time out – and Parker, who is unbeaten in 24 fights, looked light on his feet and at ease in what will be the fighters’ last public outing until Friday’s weigh-in.

The New Zealand fighter was warmly received initially but drew boos when he pointed to the historic success his country’s rugby team have had in Wales, stating: “I’m looking forward to keeping that record clean.”

And moments before Joshua appeared for his own workout, Parker delivered a message: “I’ll see you Saturday, let’s go to war”.

Prayers and national pride – The Samoan view

Samoa’s Seti Afoa is the only broadcaster from his country in Wales. He told BBC Sport about the country’s pride in Parker, as both his parents were born in the country.

All the talk in Samoa right now is about the fight. Yesterday, there was a prayer function in the country, praying for Joseph Parker. That’s how far it gets.

When you get to that level of national support, it’s massive.

It is Easter Sunday in Samoa when it’s fight night here. The fighters will walk out around 10:30pm here, perfect timing for Samoa, around 12:30pm on Sunday. Church is done, lunch is done. You could say it’s a divine appointment.

We have a TV station that picks it up and it’s free to air around the country. That’s the case for all Parker fights. That’s how big this guy is.

People will be in front of a TV set, they’ll be anywhere looking at the fight, I would say 90% of of the country will be watching the fight.

I think Joseph Parker has more than a prayer. He comes in here with confidence that we haven’t seen before.

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