Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker will both put their heavyweight world title belts on the line in the first major boxing bout of 2018.
Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, where Joshua successfully defended his titles against Carlos Takam – will host the bout. The fight, to be shown on Sky Sports Box Office, will take place on 31 March 2018.
Parker has withdrawn his claims that Joshua is the ‘king of steroids’. The WBO champion made the comments prior to touching down in London for the first press conference on 15 January.
Joshua was visibly annoyed by the suggestion during the pair’s first public appearance together. However, Parker has now admitted he does regret making the accusation.
Speaking after the first face-off with Joshua, Parker admitted the steroid comments were made in the spur of the moment. ‘It was one of those lines,’ Parker explained.
‘They accused me of being the ‘king of pies’ and the first thing that came to my head was that.
‘But, it’s one of those things you just say without thinking and obviously it wasn’t the best thing to say. So, I think we’ll just leave it in the past.’ Asked directly if he believes Joshua was indeed using performance-enhancing drugs, Parker left zero doubt about his true feelings.
He said: ‘No, everyone is drug tested all the time, it was just one of those things you said without thinking. It was just a response, a fast response.’
Joshua gave Parker and his team the opportunity to repeat the steroid claims in the press conference, but the Kiwi had clearly changed his tune.
‘I won’t take it to heart’
And the WBA (Super) and IBF champion insisted he was not taking the unsavoury accusation to heart. ‘I remember when I watched [Wladimir] Klitschko, it happened to him a lot,’ Joshua said.
‘They used to really disrespect him a lot of the time. About his style, about his performance and say certain things about him. But I think he was just a phenomenal fighter and people used to just say things.
‘But, then you forget about it. I won’t take it to heart, as I say you just roll with the punches.
‘It’s all relevant, when I’m standing in front of him. He didn’t say it to my face, he only said it to a newspaper.’
Photo Credit: SecondsOut