Anthony Joshua open to rematch with Joseph Parker
Anthony Joshua is open to fighting Joseph Parker again if his scheduled world title rematch with Oleksandr Usyk is delayed because of the war in Ukraine.
Proud Ukrainian Usyk has returned home to help defend his country against the Russian invasion, placing doubts over the timing of a second fight with Joshua.
There was talk of a date in May or June with Joshua desperate to win back the WBA, IBF and WBO belts from Usyk who produced an impressive points win in London last September.
Parker, who lost the WBO belt to Joshua in their unification fight in Cardiff in 2018, has talked of a desire for taking on the muscular Brit again, believing he could put up a better performance as he settles into his new training regime with Andy Lee while also getting help from Tyson Fury’s father, John.
Joshua said he wants an interim fight if Usyk is unavailable for the moment.
“Me personally? I’ll fight no problem. I’ll fight whatever, no problem,” Joshua told Behind The Gloves on Monday (NZT).
When Parker’s name was suggested, Joshua said: “I’ll fight Joseph Parker. I’ll smoke him as well. Don’t matter.
“Do you know what it is? My record shows bro, it’s a fight at the end of the day, what you want me to do?
“I’ll fight whoever, whenever. It’s only a fight, you know what I’m trying to say? So yeah I’ll fight 100 per cent.”
Parker is eager to return to action as soon as possible after his impressive unanimous points victory over Dereck Chisora in Manchester last December.
He told TalkSport in the UK that his time in the Fury camp had made him a better fighter.
“I think I have more of a chance now, because I back myself,” Parker said of a potential rematch with Joshua, lamenting his conservative approach in their original bout.
“I think with that fight, [I was] too defensive, and I didn’t take the risks that you would take in these fights.
“I’m more aggressive. In the last fight [against Chisora] I showed [that].
“John Fury is a hard man. When John takes the training, you know you’re in for a really hard training session.
“I’m thankful to John for how he has prepared and pushed me in training, and helped me improve and be a better fighter as well.”
Parker’s loss to Joshua was the first of his professional career, and he quickly lost to fellow Brit Dillian Whyte in London soon after. He has now strung together six consecutive wins to get back into title contention with a record of 30-2 with 21 wins via knockout.
Joshua’s record has slipped to 24-2, including his knockout loss to Andy Ruiz in their world title fight in New York in 2019.
Parker appears to have options with a fight against Joe Joyce, another Brit, being talked up.
A win over Joyce, who is one place higher than Parker at No 1 with the WBO, would give the winner mandatory rights to a title fight with that organisation.
The Parker camp have also been exploring fight options in the United States where they believe a rematch with Ruiz would hold appeal. Parker beat Ruiz on points in Auckland in 2016 to win the vacant WBO title.