Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker: British fighter expects unification bout in early 2018
WBA and IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua expects to face WBO title holder Joseph Parker in a unification bout in March or April.
The Briton’s team have been in negotiations with representatives of Parker over how the potential bout’s revenue should be divided.
The New Zealand fighter wants 35% and his promoter says a deal is “close”.
“Joseph Parker is being very realistic in terms of when he is going to fight and in negotiations,” said Joshua.
“That’s a fight which can potentially happen sometime in March or April,” added the 28-year-old during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year programme.
A date in either month will make Cardiff’s Principality Stadium a front-runner to stage the event as it boasts a roof, and the magnitude of a heavyweight unification bout will undoubtedly demand a capacity greater than the 20,000 offered by London’s O2 Arena.
Joshua defended his titles in Cardiff by stopping Carlos Takam in October, prompting his promoter Eddie Hearn to state the Welsh capital could become a regular winter fight venue for the London 2012 gold medallist.
Joshua also holds the less heralded IBO title, but a meeting with Parker would see the winner hold three of the four recognised belts in the WBA, IBF and WBO.
American Deontay Wilder holds the WBC belt, meaning the winner of Joshua v Parker could face Wilder with the prospect of one man holding all four major heavyweight titles for the first time in history.
“I think definitely we have to get our hands on another championship belt. There are five championship belts, we have three of them. It’s crazy because so soon we have the possibility of capturing the other two,” Joshua told SPOTY.
Hearn has already held talks with Wilder’s team with a view to making a 2018 bout and is confident it will happen.
But a defeat in early 2018 could scupper that meeting and Parker’s promoter – David Higgins – told BBC Sport last week that his fighter was being overlooked against a “hyped” and “rattled” Joshua.