Joseph Parker says he has drawn “confidence” from the physical similarities between himself and Anthony Joshua.
The WBO world champion came face-to-face with ‘AJ’ at the pre-fight press conference earlier this month, and does not feel that he will enter the ring with a size disadvantage as he bids to add the Briton’s WBA and IBF belts in a unification blockbuster on March 31, at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
“I could see confidence in his eyes, which you expect but also honestly, he’s not as big as I thought he was,” Parker said to boxingscene.com.
“I thought he would be wider and taller but standing next to him there wasn’t a lot of difference.
“It’s little things like that, that you draw confidence from.”
Parker, the first New Zealander to win a version of the heavyweight crown, has also drawn belief from Joshua’s 10th-round knockout victory over Carlos Takam last October – a common opponent whom he feels exposed slight weaknesses in ‘AJ’s’ defences.
“I think I have better movement than Takam but honestly just the little jerky movements and feints that Takam used seemed to work well. So, for sure I’ll sell Joshua some feints,” he said.
“I felt Takam’s body shots took away some of Joshua’s momentum and that is something else we’ll look at. And of course, I’m a lot bigger than Takam.
“We’ll be looking to start at a fast, smart pace and with lots of movement.”
Joshua will be hoping to extend his 100 percent knockout rate and unbeaten run to 21 fights when the pair meet in the Welsh capital.
The 28-year-old preserved his record after climbing off the floor to beat Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium last year, but Parker says he has shown similar traits of bravery in his unblemished 24 fight career.
“The way Joshua got dropped and came back you’ve got to respect that, that’s the heart of a champion,” he said. “But don’t forget I have sparred with Klitschko.
“The worst moment in my career was getting my eardrum burst against [Marcelo Luiz] Nascimento. I’ve also suffered a deep cut from a vicious head butt and I’ve fought with constant pain in my elbows for the past few fights, which is something that is thankfully no longer a problem.
“So yes, I know how to fight through uncomfortable moments and get the job done, no worries there.”
By Neel Khagram @behindthefight